Iqbal Quadir on Sustainable Entrepreneurship: Getting to the Root of the Problem

by: Stuart L. Hart

Publication Date: March 31, 2017
Length: 22 pages
Product ID#: 8-531-081

Core Disciplines: Base of the Pyramid, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Leadership/Organizational Behavior, Social Impact

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Teaching Note

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This case traces the evolution and development of Iqbal Quadir’s entrepreneurial efforts from his childhood in Bangladesh to his experiences in the United States both as a student and later as a working professional in the banking and development sectors. The case details the challenges and opportunities of using the power of enterprise and entrepreneurship to sustainably serve and lift the underserved. The rich texture of Quadir’s life story shows how a combination of personal experience, openness to innovative approaches, and a desire to get to the root cause of a problem can combine to offer unique pathways to new venture development that solve social and environmental problems in profitable ways. Quadir’s role in the founding of Grameenphone offers important lessons in inclusive business and sustainable entrepreneurship as one of the few “base of the pyramid” ventures that has achieved large scale and significant positive impact.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Understand how unique combinations of personal background and experience, along with a deep desire to get to the root cause of a particular problem, can be consciously combined to offer unique pathways to new venture creation.
  • Examine how seemingly irrelevant (or even inappropriate) new technologies and solutions might actually hold the key to “cracking the code” to some vexing social or environmental problems.
  • Analyze new technologies or applications through the lens of personal experience and an enduring passion to solve a particular problem.
  • Apply these insights to their own personal experiences and passions to identify new business opportunities that might resolve pressing social and environmental problems.