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Reference no. 811-035-1
Subject category: Entrepreneurship
Published in:
18 pages
Data source:
Field research


The case focuses on the challenges and opportunities of poor communities in achieving sustainable livelihoods, and also on the dilemmas faced by social entrepreneurs or aid managers seeking to enhance empowerment and enfranchisement of project beneficiaries and reduce their dependence on continued assistance. Black Stone Coop, founded in 1992 by a group of poor coffee growers with the aid and assistance of two social entrepreneurs, was highly successful in various ways. Its coffee met the strictest standards set by international organic and Fair Trade institutions, and it had successfully exported coffee year after year for more than a decade. Moreover, the standard of living of coop members and their families had improved. Nevertheless, in 2006, Black Stone Coop members were still highly dependent on the voluntary support and professional council of the two social entrepreneurs, and the latter had become increasingly concerned by the coop’s lack of self-reliance. The case provides qualitative and quantitative data that will allow students to assess the performance, challenges and opportunities for all actors involved, and to formulate strategies for the two social entrepreneurs as to how to engage with the coop in the years to come.


Developing world; Social entrepreneurship; Poverty; Small farmers; Fair trade; Coffee trade; Cooperative enterprises; Sustainable livelihoods; Development assistance; Empowerment; Latin America; Venezuela; International technical cooperation; International aid; Grassroots development
29 coffee growers plus their families
Other setting(s):
March 2006

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