Social Entrepreneurship - The Alicia Polak Way

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : LDEN045 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 200;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 200 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Social Entrepreneurship

Case Length : 10 Pages
Period : 2004-06
Pub Date : 2007
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Khayelitsha Cookie Company
Industry : Food Products
Countries : South Africa


The case discusses the social entrepreneurship initiatives by Alicia Polak in South Africa. Alicia Polak, who was an investment banker with Merrill Lynch and Company in New York, started a small business venture in the slums of South Africa. The venture was not started as a charity but as a profit generating business. With very little initial investment, Alicia employed women from the neighborhood and taught them how to make high-end cookies, and that was the beginning of Khayelitsha Cookie Company (KCC). She marketed the cookies in hotels and to the tourists who visited South Africa. The cookies soon gained popularity, and she planned to replicate this model in other developing and underdeveloped countries.

KCC was expected to break even by the beginning of the year 2007, and the cookies were being marketed in the US and European countries.


Understand the concept of social entrepreneurship

Analyze how small business ventures can make a significant difference in the lives of the poor

Critically evaluate Khayelitsha Cookie Company's (KCC) business model and its potential for scalability

Study how commercially profitable ventures can be started in underdeveloped countries

Critically examine the sustainability and replicability potential of KCC's business model


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 2
The Khayelitsha Cookie Company 3
The Results 5
Looking Ahead 5
Exhibits 7


Alicia Polak, Social Entrepreneurship, Khayelitsha Cookie Company, Entrepreneurial Programs, Societal Wealth Generation, Bottom of the Pyramid , Non-governmental Organization, Community Initiatives, Philani Nutrition and Development Project, Sustainable Business, Scalability

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