The South Pacific Business Development Foundation: Fighting Poverty in Fiji

by: Philip Powell, Jacob Hiatt, Matthew Hutchens, Rocio Ortiz

Publication Date: May 16, 2011
Length: 23 pages
Product ID#: 1-429-169

Core Disciplines: Base of the Pyramid, Strategy & Management

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Teaching Note

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Second Place Winner of the NextBillion 2011 Case Writing Competition SPBD Foundation is a microfinance organization with ten years of success in Samoa. SPBD has achieved financial self-sufficiency and a 98% repayment rate for its female borrowers. After successful expansion to the neighboring Polynesian country of Tonga, SPBD owner Greg Casagrande now wants to begin operations in Fiji. Casagrande must decide if SPBD can simultaneously navigate an unstable political and economic environment, establish its brand in a market of competitors that already serve poor households, and diversify its product portfolio to meet client needs that differ from those in Samoa and Tonga. Partnering with an existing organization in Fiji is an option for Casagrande. Students must determine if entry into Fiji is worth the expected alterations to SPBD’s already successful model of poverty alleviation.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Students must combine country analysis, market assessment, and appraisal of nonprofit mission to address SPBD’s question of entry into the Fijian market.
  • Understand how to formulate a next-stage expansion strategy for a social enterprise that has proved its sustainability and financial viability.
  • Gain knowledge of microfinance products and how they can be bundled to compete in a market for low-income clients.
  • Comprehend the impact of cultural and community norms on an individual’s response to economic incentives, especially in a poor community when the objective is microenterprise development.
  • Learn how to position and operate a social enterprise in a country with high political and economic risk.
  • Recognize how to align in-country partnerships with the mission of a social enterprise and its achievement of operational objectives.The case can motivate a three-stage discussion. Stage one is a definition of SPBD’s mission, stage two is a country analysis of Fiji in comparison with Samoa and Tonga, and stage three is formulation of a market-entry strategy, including identification of a product portfolio. Discussion can be positioned to add value in courses focused upon social enterprise, nonprofit marketing, international business, or country analysis.