Yogurt Mamas: Probiotics in Tanzania
(13 pages of text)
This case illustrates a grassroots enterprise's path to self-sufficiency in a subsistence market context. It explores the gradual evolution of a business model with strong social mandates (pro-health, pro-women) and asks which growth options best marry profitability and positive social change. The Mwanza, Tanzania-based Yogurt Mamas emerge as entrepreneurial role models in their communities, with funds from Western donors and an exciting new technology.
The Yogurt Mamas produce and locally distribute a probiotic yogurt to their small community; they are interconnected in a local value chain and benefit from annual inflows of expertise from Western partners, including free access to patented technology and free culturing of probiotic bacteria in a local lab. The case asks students to critically analyze the hurdles to profitability and suggest working solutions to scale up the venture. Challenges include funding sufficiency, clarity of roles and responsibilities, patent restrictions, kitchen ownership, food safety and quality concerns, and liability concerns. Options include technology/model licensing and franchising, organic growth and expansion to gain higher margins and greater control over the milk supply, and extending their distribution reach. If the Yogurt Mamas cannot find an attractive and feasible growth option, the partners will have to contemplate venture termination once the grant funding comes to an end, or consider alternative exit options.
Administrative, Support, Waste Management and Remediation Services,
Health Care Services,
Kenya, Small, 2008
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