SweepSouth South Africa: Contextually Intelligent Female Leadership of Entrepreneurial Domestic Services
(8 pages of text)
In 2014, an entrepreneur in Cape Town, South Africa, started SweepSouth with her husband. Their mission was to enable dignified home cleaning work for the most vulnerable blue-collar workers, and they offered several services to empower them. When the company struggled to meet the demand for domestic services over the December holiday period, the founders realized the extent of the market’s need to connect domestic workers with potential clients. Given the entrepreneur’s business acumen and her husband’s skills and experience in software development, they created a digital platform that was often labelled the Uber of domestic services. SweepSouth employed 40 staff members and had 8,000 contractors (referred to as “SweepStars”) on the company’s platform. In 2018, the two founders wanted to scale up the business for greater social impact and had to choose among expanding the business to other African countries, expanding the service offering to office spaces, or remaining focused on serving the home and adding new services such as gardening and plumbing.
This case is suitable for an undergraduate- or graduate-level course on organizational behaviour, leadership, gender studies, or entrepreneurship. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to do the following:
- Understand contextually relevant factors in making a decision to expand a business.
- Evaluate the contextual intelligence of a business leader.
- Make recommendations on the speed of expansion.
South Africa, Small, 2018
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