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Abstract

This case revisits a business plan that won first place in 1999 in its university’s business plan competition. Subsequent to winning the award, the team had concluded the opportunity, as they had explored it, was a ‘too-little-too-late’ Internet startup, and the team members were not in a position to want to pursue an online wedding information site at the height of the dot-com boom. Six years later, Bill, the would-have-been CEO of Wedding Information Site, received an e-mail from his instructor urging him to revise the strategic position of Wedding Information Site and secure an MBA team to enter the business plan competition again. The instructor proposes that a social enterprise component be added to the business strategy that would result in a significant impact for good (ie, the ‘triple bottom line’ of people, profits, and environment) on the $70 billion a year wedding industry in the United States alone. The key issue is how to position Wedding Information Site’s social enterprise strategy and practices to become a competitive force, to secure initial financing, and ultimately to become a desirable buyout from an established competitor or to become a significant competitive force in the multibillion dollar industry. Venture capitalists are not traditionally known for looking first at social return, then financial return. However, this is potentially a very compelling investment opportunity for the right investor. The primary subject matter is the potential entry of a business with a social enterprise strategy into a highly competitive industry. It can be used to introduce business social enterprise, triple bottom line, and sustainability strategies and practices. Secondary issues include the use of business plan competitions for testing out an idea, securing initial funding, and developing vital networks. The case has a difficulty level of three to five and works well in the undergraduate policy or strategy capstone class or first-year MBA. The case is designed to be taught in one to two class hours.
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Abstract

This case revisits a business plan that won first place in 1999 in its university’s business plan competition. Subsequent to winning the award, the team had concluded the opportunity, as they had explored it, was a ‘too-little-too-late’ Internet startup, and the team members were not in a position to want to pursue an online wedding information site at the height of the dot-com boom. Six years later, Bill, the would-have-been CEO of Wedding Information Site, received an e-mail from his instructor urging him to revise the strategic position of Wedding Information Site and secure an MBA team to enter the business plan competition again. The instructor proposes that a social enterprise component be added to the business strategy that would result in a significant impact for good (ie, the ‘triple bottom line’ of people, profits, and environment) on the $70 billion a year wedding industry in the United States alone. The key issue is how to position Wedding Information Site’s social enterprise strategy and practices to become a competitive force, to secure initial financing, and ultimately to become a desirable buyout from an established competitor or to become a significant competitive force in the multibillion dollar industry. Venture capitalists are not traditionally known for looking first at social return, then financial return. However, this is potentially a very compelling investment opportunity for the right investor. The primary subject matter is the potential entry of a business with a social enterprise strategy into a highly competitive industry. It can be used to introduce business social enterprise, triple bottom line, and sustainability strategies and practices. Secondary issues include the use of business plan competitions for testing out an idea, securing initial funding, and developing vital networks. The case has a difficulty level of three to five and works well in the undergraduate policy or strategy capstone class or first-year MBA. The case is designed to be taught in one to two class hours.

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