Why do we need social enterprise?

The importance of social enterprises within any society cannot be overemphasized. It is integral that such enterprises exist in order to maintain the general well-being of the local and global community. By utilizing the brilliant minds of our generation to spur positive change in difficult situations, social enterprises provide a sustainable service that the United Nations cannot replace.

Photo by CANGO Group

Photo by CANGO Group

Even if the United Nations was fully funded, the role of social enterprise would not diminish. Social enterprises provide specific solutions to issues of any magnitude, whereas the priorities of the United Nations lie on the consensus of its member nations, thereby pushing certain agendas aside. Although I am not downplaying the significant impact of the United Nations throughout the past 60 years, I simply believe that they do not have the time nor the resources to cater to all needs in an efficient manner.

Social enterprises such as the ARC initiative provide sustainable solutions to these pressing issues by incorporating all three aspects of the triple bottom line, consisting of social, economic, and environmental development. By integrating young minds with opportunities for intellectual development, social enterprises are not only showing people how to utilize their greatest tool, but how to expand its capabilities as well.

Hence, I believe social enterprises must co-exist with the United Nations in order to resolve world issues such as poverty with the highest level of efficiency.





BlackBerry heading in the wrong direction

Photo by Chris Young

Photo by Chris Young

In an article on The Globe and Mail, I read that BlackBerry is looking to expand into the Chinese market after their CEO, John Chen, met with executives from Xiaomi Corp and Lenovo Group Ltd this past week. Although this may seem like a possibly lucrative deal for BlackBerry, with sales in their current market failing to meet expectations, I believe it is a move in the wrong direction.

In my opinion, BlackBerry is looking at the big picture before addressing the issues they are facing within their local environment. Even with the recent introduction of the Passport, the current BlackBerry line-up is seemingly outdated to most consumers in the North American market. Therefore, expanding at this time is not an ideal decision as the Chinese market poses even greater competition and an unnecessary hurdle during a difficult period in the company’s history. Instead of gaining exposure on their existing products through the vast Chinese market, I believe BlackBerry must focus on the innovation of their future products and conduct extensive research of their current market in order to compete with the likes of Apple and to fully maximize the potential for consumer satisfaction.

Through market research and innovation, BlackBerry can test the demand of its new concept on the North American market, before deciding to expand to foreign markets. Otherwise, they will inevitably suffer from the continued exposure of its outdated products on a global scale, at a time when BlackBerry cannot afford another setback.




Target, the modern retailer

Photo by Jodi Hill

Photo by Jodi Hill

Interestingly enough, I heard of Target for the first time through the Ellen DeGeneres show. While I watched in envy as she gave out expensive merchandise and $500 gift cards from Target during her annual Christmas giveaways segment, I was intrigued by how quickly my preferences for retailers shifted towards them.

According to Eva Liu’s blog post, Target overcame initial hardships to thrive in the Canadian market by offering 3.5% cheaper prices than their rivals Wal-Mart. However, I believe the fundamental reason behind Target’s success in all of its ventures is because they have redefined the role of a modern retailer.

Similar to how Red Bull became more than an energy drink company, Target has transcended the retail industry by coupling a differentiation strategy with the traditional low cost strategy to market their brand. By forming key partnerships with influential celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres and major sports organizations like the Minnesota Twins, Target has disrupted their industry, putting significant pressure on rivals to merely follow their pace.

As a result, I believe Target has formed an attractive brand image that has firmly embedded itself into the dominant, millennial customer segment. In my opinion, as long as Target continues to interlink the differentiated marketing strategy with its low cost guarantee strategy, they have no bounds for how far they can shape the modern retailer.








Tangoo or Google. What would you choose?

Photo by Google and Vancity Buzz

Photo by Google and Vancity Buzz

While I was searching online for external bloggers, I drew inspiration from Tangoo whose CEO came to speak at my COMM 101 lecture today. Browsing through their official blog, I came across a post from their current Community Manager Sarah Tang, who described her process of choosing to work at Tangoo instead of Google. Her reasoning behind choosing a risky start-up over a highly sought-after job at Google made me reflect on what I truly want out of business.

When the alumni’s came to speak at our COMM 101 class, I found one common ground between all of the speakers—aside from the fact that they graduated from Sauder. They were each doing what they loved. Utilizing the tools they developed and refined throughout their time at UBC, they made difficult and risky decisions—some turning down offers at established firms—in order to follow their passion. Although this is simply not the case for every graduate, I believe this sort of risk-taking is encouraged by Sauder.

In COMM 101, we have gone through many fundamental topics of the business world, but in my opinion, if there’s been one message that the professors wanted to convey to us first-years, it is: Discover what’s right for you. Although it sounds grotesquely clique, by allowing us to get a glimpse into a variety of specialties like accounting and marketing, I believe this message has always been intrinsic in each of the topics we have learned so far.




Downfall of the McDonald’s dynasty

“Dude let’s just go to McDonald’s” is something you may not hear a lot of in the future. According to Business Insider, McDonald’s worldwide sales dropped 3.3% last year and it’s hardly surprising to me, given the volume of public criticism they have accumulated until now. In my opinion, the major reason for this decline is because McDonald’s have been stagnant in their value propositions while consumer preferences in the fast food industry have evolved.

Photo by McDonald's

Photo by McDonald’s

Health conscious millennials are driving market shares at the moment and while fast food chains like A&W have adapted to advertise their use of beef without steroids or hormones, McDonald’s has been left to be exposed. Up until now, McDonald’s has not valued the quality of their food as much as they valued the price of their food and I think this is a possibly negative effect of their industry low cost strategy. Because McDonald’s has been fully immersed within the concept of lowering prices as much as possible, they are at a severe disadvantage once market preferences have shifted.

Although they tried to ease criticism of its products through their “Our food, your questions” transparency ploy, personally, it came across as a move of desperation instead. McDonald’s must accept that their core value propositions (cheap, fast, delicious food) have been surpassed by other companies and focus on mitigating their downfall as soon as possible if they wish to stay relevant within the fast food industry any longer.






Copper-gold project thwarted by tribal park

Taseko Mines Ltd definitely did not see this one coming. With the Tsilhqot’in First Nations group announcing this October as the opening of their new Dasiqox Tribal Park in the Chilcotin area, Taseko’s $1.1 billion dollar New Prosperity copper-gold project is in jeopardy. The 3,120 square kilometers set to be declared as tribal park land will include the site for Taseko’s controversial project and the Tsilhqot’in people are preparing to establish strict rules against mining and logging in the area. Ever since the First Nations Land Management Act was signed in 1999, these acts to preserve the heritage and resources of Native land have put significant external pressure on natural resource companies like Taseko.

Photo by John Lehmann

Through their New Prosperity copper-gold project, Taseko stated that they were eager to “dramatically increase shareholder value, improve the economic well-being of local communities, and transform into a strongly positioned mid-tier mining company.” However the First Nations Land Management Act has given power to Natives over reserve lands and their resources, thereby limiting Taseko from expanding their supply of key resources and increasing revenue streams. As a Political factor in Taseko’s PEST analysis, the opening of this tribal park is set to have substantial financial implications as Taseko must seek to quickly readjust their future plans to align with BC’s native legislations if they wish to avoid impediments such as this.







The strategy behind League of Legends

In Philip Wong’s blog post, “Focusing on the Consumers”, he explains how Riot Games, the company behind the online game League of Legends, creates an unrivaled consumers experience by “constantly updating and revitalizing the game, forming close relationships with players with their forums and promotional events.” As one of the most played and fastest rising video games on the planet, it is clear that League of Legends’ superiority in the online, “Freemium” game industry, can be credited to the structure and strategy that Riot has built into the core of this game. To further expand on Wong’s post, I believe the success of League of Legends lies directly with one of Michael Porter’s generic strategies – the industry wide differentiation strategy.

Photo by St. Louis Post Dispatch

Photo by St. Louis Post Dispatch

As evident in League of Legends’ wide variety of characters, gameplay modes, and multiplayer options, Riot has unquestionably targeted the entire industry with their game. With no specific skill, state-of-the-art computer, or cost required to begin playing the game, nearly anyone can get hooked to the unique playing experience, whether or not you are a fan of video games. The way that Riot has mastered the immersive component of its game by demanding vigorous teamwork and coordination between friends or quite often strangers in order to succeed, also adds to the key factors that differentiates League of Legends from its competitors.





Netflix to premiere major motion picture in 2015

Netflix is set to premiere a motion picture movie that will simultaneously be shown in theaters and on its website. “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend,” the sequel to director Ang Lee’s Oscar winning drama, will be out in theaters and available for online streaming on August 28, 2015, thanks to a deal between the Weinstein Brothers and Netflix.

Photo by EliteDaily.com

Photo by EliteDaily.com

This is a monumental step for Netflix as it seeks to further expand its value propositions. Although Netflix subscribers were previously able to access a wide database of TV shows, movies etc., an unfulfilled desire always existed from consumers who wanted to experience a newly released movie in the comfort of their bedroom – legally at least. Physically going to the theater or waiting for the movie to be released on Netflix pose a customer inconvenience and a significant pain.

Hence, this move by Netflix will be an effective “pain-killer” for its customer segment as they increase the flexibility of its movie streaming services to create a hassle-free major motion picture viewing alternative. Furthermore, this deal should initiate a new wave of opportunities for Netflix to add more in-theater movies to its inventory, which may consequently convert the “movie theater experience” into a thing of the past.





Major League Soccer in Sacramento?

Major League Soccer’s extraordinary growth from a tedious “retirement league” to an established platform for intriguing soccer, has caught the attention of fans and investors alike around America who wish to bring a Major League club to their city – so is the case for the city of Sacramento.

Photo by Sacramento Republic FC

Sacramento is eager to be chosen as the 22nd team to join the league – at least until 2020 – however, the management team for Sacramento Republic FC have key decisions to make. None bigger than: is it worth making this dream a reality?

In 2012, of the 19 teams in the MLS, more than half of the organizations were not profitable by the end of the season. Furthermore, the costs to start up a MLS club require the construction of a suitable stadium, which hovers around the $100 million mark. Despite the dismal reality for MLS clubs, Sacramento Republic FC can still become a profitable organization in the league if it is well positioned within its industry as stated in Michael Porter’s Generic Strategies.

If Sacramento is able to implement the low cost focus strategy on its abundant millennial and young population, it will have a greater chance at achieving profitability as an MLS club as well as providing the euphoria that Sacramento sports fans have long been deprived of.







Business Ethics – BC’s freshwater well threatened by Nestle Waters Canada

According to an article on the Times Colonist, Nestle Waters Canada is able to annually extract over 265 million liters of water from a Fraser Valley well without any expense, due to BC’s non-existent groundwater regulations.

From an outside perspective, Nestle is not going against business ethics by gaining its resources in a law-abiding manner and marketing the product back to the public. Instead, it poses the question of whether Nestle is fulfilling its social responsibility; to extract a reasonable amount of water – given the free nature to do otherwise – from a source that the residents of Fraser Valley heavily rely on for their clean, drinking water.


Photo by Wayne Leidenfrost

Nestle’s decisions thus far correlate to Milton Friedman’s view of social responsibility which stress the value-based management approach of a business, as long as it stays within the parameters of the law. Friedman argues that in order for an executive to make decisions that will inherently benefit the public – sustainable water use in this scenario – it also poses the problem of spending the money of its customers and employees for a cause that the executive sees fit. If Nestle were to forfeit their benefits and offer to pay the government for the quantity of water extracted, it would mean a substantial cut to their annual profit thus a loss of value for their shareholders. Furthermore, Nestle has disregarded Edward Freeman’s “Stakeholder Theory,” as the public – a huge stakeholder – is being heavily undervalued.



News Article: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/wild-west-of-groundwater-billion-dollar-nestl%C3%A9-extracting-b-c-s-drinking-water-for-free-1.587568

Milton Friedman’s view: http://site.ebrary.com/lib/ubc/reader.action?docID=10187339&page=171

Edward Freeman’s “Stakeholder Theory”: https://www.youtube.com/embed/bIRUaLcvPe8

Image: http://www.waterwealthproject.com/free_water_for_nestle_one_of_the_many_corporate_give_aways_of_bc_s_water