Product details

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Published by: CLADEA-BALAS Case Consortium
Originally published in: 2021
Version: 13 March 2021
Length: 32 pages
Data source: Published sources

Abstract

Verdeagua was a successful Uruguayan B Corp founded in 2002 by two agriculture technicians producing uniquely fresh and consistent vegetables through the use of hydroponic technology. They aimed at the higher income population segment, which was the only one that consumed fruit and vegetables at the minimum level recommended by the WHO (400 gr a day). This market was reached through an exclusivity arrangement with a high-quality supermarket chain, bypassing the traditional distribution channels that captured a very significant portion of the value-added. Simultaneously to creating economic value, the two founders were committed to creating social value and respecting the environment. Social value stemmed from employing mostly women from the poorest segments of the population on a full-time, unlimited basis - while the industry largely employed workers on a temporary basis. Furthermore, wages, benefits, and shared decision-making created a unique organizational culture where fairness, learning, and personal development were paramount. At the same time, hydroponic technology, specialized infrastructure, and internal processes resulted in the industry's lowest environmental impact. By taking up a USD300k bank loan, the founders had recently purchased a 25-acre lot and set up an up-to-date greenhouse. They had plans to continue growing the company and enlarging their market presence but were unsure of their business skills and if the business' cash-flows would be enough to pull this initiative through. They started looking for investors. Would investors accept their unwavering commitment to their triple bottom-line way of doing business? How would they relate to a purely business-oriented management philosophy? How could the company grow profitably and simultaneously maintain its commitment to the creation of social value without impacting their return on investment? Would the founders and the organizational culture respond satisfactorily to the severe demands of growth? ORT's case collection.

Geographical setting

Region:
Americas
Country:
Uruguay

About

Abstract

Verdeagua was a successful Uruguayan B Corp founded in 2002 by two agriculture technicians producing uniquely fresh and consistent vegetables through the use of hydroponic technology. They aimed at the higher income population segment, which was the only one that consumed fruit and vegetables at the minimum level recommended by the WHO (400 gr a day). This market was reached through an exclusivity arrangement with a high-quality supermarket chain, bypassing the traditional distribution channels that captured a very significant portion of the value-added. Simultaneously to creating economic value, the two founders were committed to creating social value and respecting the environment. Social value stemmed from employing mostly women from the poorest segments of the population on a full-time, unlimited basis - while the industry largely employed workers on a temporary basis. Furthermore, wages, benefits, and shared decision-making created a unique organizational culture where fairness, learning, and personal development were paramount. At the same time, hydroponic technology, specialized infrastructure, and internal processes resulted in the industry's lowest environmental impact. By taking up a USD300k bank loan, the founders had recently purchased a 25-acre lot and set up an up-to-date greenhouse. They had plans to continue growing the company and enlarging their market presence but were unsure of their business skills and if the business' cash-flows would be enough to pull this initiative through. They started looking for investors. Would investors accept their unwavering commitment to their triple bottom-line way of doing business? How would they relate to a purely business-oriented management philosophy? How could the company grow profitably and simultaneously maintain its commitment to the creation of social value without impacting their return on investment? Would the founders and the organizational culture respond satisfactorily to the severe demands of growth? ORT's case collection.

Settings

Geographical setting

Region:
Americas
Country:
Uruguay

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