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AABS Case Studies

Zest: A Driving Force in Motors

Johannesburg-based Zest, well respected in the electric motor industry, was the only distributor of WEG motors throughout southern Africa. In 2001, its chief executive officer (CEO), James Blakemore, added variable speed drives (VSDs) to the product p

Woolworths SA: Something in the Yoghurt Mix (with Epilogue)

Woolworths SA: Something in the Yoghurt Mix In May 2008, alerted by a primary dairy supplier that one of its raw material suppliers may be including gelatine in its products, Julian Novak, divisional director of food at Woolworths SA , tasked his t

Verity: In Tune with Viral Marketing

Looking across the bay from her home in Hout Bay, Cape Town singer Verity Price (known to her fans as Verity) reflected on how she had not allowed the exclusive South African music industry to prevent her from making and selling her first album. She w

The Phone Shop: Growth and the Entrepreneur - Part A + Part B

(Part A) In August 2006, the lease on The Phone Shop – a business that the Brill family had run for the past 18 years – was up for renewal. In recent years, the shop had not performed well, but Eran Brill believed that because it had developed

Tashas Franchising

It was a Saturday morning in April 2009 at Tashas at Atholl Square: the first Tashas that Natasha Sideris had opened, and her flagship store. As always, the restaurant was incredibly hectic. Sideris walked over to a table where one of the guests was c

Broad–based Black Economic Empowerment: 2004 – 2009

One of the most important black economic empowerment events of the period 2004 to 2009 was the promulgation of the Broad-based Black Economic Codes of Good Conduct (the Codes) in February 2007. In 2004, when the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment

Altis Biologics: From Labs to Riches?

Doctor Nicolaas Duneas was in a quandary: as he sat in his dishevelled office at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), he pondered the future of his company Altis Biologics. Founded in 2002, Altis was a small biotechnology company specialising i

Pamodzi Investment Holdings: To List or Not to List?

In January 2008, the black-owned Pamodzi Investment Holdings (PIH) was at a crossroads, as its chief executive officer (CEO), Ndaba Ntsele, sat down with his board to discuss how to finance the growth of the business. Ntsele and co-director, Solly Sit

Hollard: The Office Move

We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us – Winston Churchill (28 October 1943) By April 2009, Hollard Insurance had been in Arcadia, its new building, for a little over three years. A key motive behind the move had been to

MCM Wines in China: Taking on the Dragon

In July 2009, businessman and entrepreneur, Martyn Mills of MCM Wines, reconsidered his marketing strategy. He had been exporting his own wine to China since 2003 and had recently signed an agreement with the prestigious South African wine estate, Gro

Woolworths SA: Making Sustainability Sustainable

In February 2009, Justin Smith, manager of the Good business journey at Woolworths , a leading South African department store, was a worried man. Woolworths had launched its five-year sustainability strategy just under two years before. After undertak

Deposita: Whether to dominate the value chain or not

Post-Apartheid South Africa has been characterized by high levels of crime, but also by sustained increases in the income levels of the previously disadvantaged black community. Cash is the preferred method of payment for new entrants into an economy,

The Times – Bridging the Old with the New

It was April 2007, and Ray Hartley still had myriad unanswered questions in the lead-up to the launch of a new daily newspaper, The Times, in June 2007. As the editor, he debated whether the paper, with its online functionality, would be targeting a b

Legal Aid Board: Balancing the Scales of Justice

In 1998/1999, the Legal Aid Board faced closure because of a contingent liability of more than R600 million for legal services delivered by private practitioners to the organisation’s clients. Since then, through three phases of transformation, unde

Andbeyond: From Africa to India and Beyond

Steven Fitzgerald looks relaxed as he arrives home from his fourth trip to South America this month. The chief executive officer of Andbeyond (originally Conservation Corporation Africa), a leader in luxury ecotourism, is taking his company to new cli

Brian Bruce: New Century Leader

Brian Bruce – New Century Leader In July 2008, Brian Bruce, chief executive of the 106-year-old construction, mining, engineering and manufacturing giant Murray & Roberts, had been at the helm for eight years. His leadership has resulted in a s

eNaTIS: What Went Wrong?

On 31 May 2007, Werner Koekemoer, project manager for the eNaTIS (a new national traffic information system) in the Department of Transport (DoT), and Johan Vorster, project director of Tasima (the consortium that had developed the system), met to ref

Treatment Action Campaign: Managing Activists (TAC)

It was mid-2008 and Zackie Achmat, founder of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) − widely regarded as one of the most successful HIV/AIDS activist organisations in the world − sat in his office in the historic Westminster House in Adderley Street

Dan Olofsson: IT Magnate at a Turning Point

“We cannot just sit by and do nothing!” said Sebastian Olofsson to his uncle, Dan Olofsson, a Swedish IT billionaire and owner of a private game reserve in Hluhluwe (northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa). It was February 2003, they were both at th

Pick n Pay: Changing its Environmental Footprint

Pick n Pay’s initial steps to address environmental issues in the 1980s culminated in 2007 with the launch of its Sustainable Development Vision and Action Plan. Although the plan commits the organisation to a number of environmentally-friendly goal

Cape Herb & Spice Company: Choosing a Growth Strategy

Irene Ivy-Schuurmans and Dale Kneen started the Cape Herb and Spice Company in 1992, selling their wares from a modest barrow at the Cape Town Waterfront. They were housemates with full-time jobs, but both were passionate about cooking “wacky, creat

J L Zwane - Corporate Social Responsibility meets Social Entrepreneur

It was October 2007 and more than 13 years had elapsed since South Africa’s first non-racial, democratic elections. Social entrepreneur Reverend Spiwo Xapile sat in his immaculate office at the J L Zwane centre, located on the corner of NY2 and NY7

Sandton City: Looking for a Sustainable Power Solution

In May 2008, Johannesburg’s Sandton City shopping complex was on the road to recovery from its experience that January, when it was hit hardest of all shopping centres in the country by Eskom’s random power cuts. Sandton City general manager, Gary

Yahluma: A Sustainable Business Model?

Yahluma: a Sustainable Business Model? In September 2007, Pindiwe Holomisa and Nomaciko Ngoasheng, started Yahluma Solutions Ltd with the intention of building a fully-owned contact centre in Buffalo City (Eastern Cape), and making use of a Departm

Netflorist: Maintaining Momentum

Netflorist managing director Ryan Bacher’s wife always gets flowers for Valentine’s Day. His mother always gets some for Mother’s Day. But neither sees him for days around those periods. His head is buried in flowers and gifts, and his mind is r

Sally Williams Fine Foods: To Market, To Market ...

Dries Pretorius, national sales manager of Sally Williams Fine Foods, a small manufacturer of luxury nougat, was furious. It was May 2007, four years since Sally Williams had first appointed its distributor and the thermostat at the distributor’s wa

Polecat: Poised for Growth

It was October 2007, and a perfect early summer’s day in Cape Town. In his small loft office, Michael Meltzer, founder of Zacron Industries CC trading as Polecat, which manufactured and marketed a patented clasp and claw device used in shopfitting a

South Africa - The Battle for Social & Economic Policy

On Saturday 13 January 2007, the South African president, Thabo Mbeki, stepped up to the podium at a mass rally of African National Congress (ANC) supporters in Witbank, Mpumulanga to deliver the annual January 8 Statement of the ANC National Executiv

African Bank Investments Ltd - Breaking through Microfinance Frontiers

By May 2007, African Bank Investments Limited (ABIL) had, under the leadership of Leon Kirkinis, become one of the predominant players in the provision of financial credit services to the mass employed population of South Africa. Over the years it ha



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The Emerald AABS 2017-2018 Case Study Competition is open! Entries close on 28 February 2018. 

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