Goonj: Essence of Sustainability and Scalability of a Social Venture

by: Rakesh Gupta, Sriparna Basu

Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Length: 16 pages
Product ID#: 7-237-875

Core Disciplines: Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Operations Management/Supply Chain, Social Impact, Sustainability

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Teaching Note

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Goonj (meaning “Echo”) is a not-for-profit social venture founded by Anshu Gupta in 1998. It is engaged in redistribution of used clothing donated by the affluent in urban areas to poor and needy people across India. Over time, Goonj has grown into a large organization spread across 21 states and territories, with 11 offices with a network of more than 250 partners, 200 full-time and 300 part-time employees, and 1,000 volunteers distributing more than 3,000 tons of clothes and other used material annually.

The case deals with the prevailing dilemmas among social ventures to develop economically viable operating models to achieve sustainability and scalability, while also focusing on their core purpose of maximizing social impact. The issues detailed within the case provide rich background for analyzing different ways in which social ventures can achieve financial sustainability and scalability through alternative financing strategies.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Understand the role, challenges, and opportunities for a social enterprise in a large developing country beset with economic and social inequalities.
  • Understand some of the issues regarding scalability in the context of social ventures.
  • Comprehend the challenge of financial sustainability of a social venture.
  • Understand the interrelationships between scale, revenue sustainability, and social value creation.
  • Be able to evaluate the results of a social venture.