Mushrooms as a Viable Product for Poverty Alleviation in Tanzania

by: Geoffrey Archer, Jennifer Vagg, Sarah Proctor

Publication Date: April 1, 2013
Length: 16 pages
Product ID#: 1-429-333

Core Disciplines: Base of the Pyramid, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Social Impact, Sustainability

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Teaching Note

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This case won Honorable Mention in the 2013 NextBillion Case Writing Competition. The case focuses on mechanisms for alleviating poverty and addressing food security issues through small scale farming in Tanzania. Simon Mkao, the protagonist, needs to choose a business model for expanding his small-scale mushroom farming operations (the Mwika Mushroom Group). Mkao is an influential figure in the region’s mushroom production supply chain, as the principle spore supplier and mushroom growing expert. His decision hinges on securing enough funding through a government grant from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to take the small-scale mushroom operations to the next level while maintaining cultural integrity. The options Mkao is considering for establishing a social enterprise to do this include a microfranchise business model, a cooperative model, and international exporting. The case challenges students to examine different business models and assess the current situation (e.g., obsta

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Evaluate how different business models (e.g., microfranchise, cooperative, and international export business models) might or might not effectively accomplish the goals of a social enterprise
  • Analyze Mwika Mushroom’s Group’s current needs
  • Formulate a governance recommendation that will produce a sustainable entity and attract funding