Grameen America: The Pivotal Role of Technology in Scaling
by Jennifer Walske, Elizabeth Foster, and Laura D'Andrea Tyson
This case centers on Grameen America (GA), a $17mm nonprofit organization that has become a high-profile, high-growth social enterprise that provides low-income women entrepreneurs with microloans for small businesses. GA was originally founded in 2008, as a separate affiliate organization of Grameen Bank. Grameen Bank (GB) was founded in Bangladesh in 1983 by Professor Muhammad Yunus, who was ultimately awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his pioneering work in microfinance -- an industry now valued at over $10 billion annually. In 2017, Grameen America CEO Andrea Jung led the organization-wide roll-out of a new technology platform for loan processing. GA moved from away from a server-based loan platform, to a cloud-based (and cashless) mobile banking platform in order to improve efficiency and prepare for future expansion. This also created some unexpected and beneficial cultural changes within the organization, as well. This case focuses on the transition to the new platform and how it was managed effectively through extensive research, pilot testing, and thoughtful leadership. This case is applicable for courses in technology, social entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship, and strategy.
(1) To introduce students to the microfinance model, and provide a basis for understanding current trends in scaling social enterprises within the financial sector. (2) To establish the importance of leadership and operational reorganization during organizational transitions. (3) To introduce a framework for researching, testing, modifying, and deploying a large-scale organizational software product based on off-the-shelf cloud technology.
Pub Date: Jun 30, 2018
Discipline: Social Enterprise
Subjects: Financial intermediaries, Small Business Administration, Bank loans, Entrepreneurship, Women in business, Microfinance, Strategy
Berkeley Haas Case SeriesFollowThe Berkeley Haas Case Series is a collection of business case studies written by faculty members at the Haas School of Business. Cases are conceived, developed, written, and published throughout the year, on subjects ranging from entrepreneurship and strategy to finance and marketing. Each case includes a teaching note for use in the classroom.