Thunderbird Case

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This case is about Project Salta (Salta) a multi-year collaborative experiment among financial institutions, a foreign government aid agency, and a global management school. Binding goals of Salta were to provide practical business information in sessions of short duration to micro-entrepreneurs operating at or near the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid, while keeping sponsors’ costs exceptionally low. Salta serves as a test case and potential template for organizations investing in educating micro-entrepreneurs via lessons that are information, engaging, memorable and affordable.  Details are provided regarding the origins and setting of the Salta program, its targeted participants, and parameters for the roll-out of the program. Students using the case are challenged to think creatively about how they would translate their understanding of basic business knowledge into the fundamentals needed to thrive as a micro-entrepreneur in a developing country. The case is especially relevant to individuals or organizations considering or engaging in corporate social responsibility opportunities. It is also highly relevant to empowerment of women at or near the base of the socio-economic pyramid, as well as micro-entrepreneurs in developing countries. Lessons center on challenges and advantages of educational philanthropy for these populations.

This case has three objectives: 1. To understand the development and implementation of a very economical, large-scale, customized business education program for micro-entrepreneurs. 2. To consider the challenges and rewards of investing in educating and developing women entrepreneurs living at or near the base of the socio-economic pyramid. 3. To deliberate varied and innovative pedagogical choices driven by the demographics, resources and constraints of a targeted population. The case provides a grass roots perspective of an education CSR program/experiment targeted for micro-entrepreneurs at or near the base of the socio-economic pyramid. The case opens with a vignette depicting the lessons and impact that the Salta Project had on one participant. From there, the challenges, strategies and outcomes of Salta are detailed.A second theme regards identifying pedagogical challenges of adapting basic business principles to enhance micro-entrepreneurial ventures in developing countries. Included here are creative responses to sponsors’ practical decisions to sharply limit program expenses and tightly control time investment of participants.


7 pages
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