This case explores Nuru International, a non-profit enterprise established in 2008 with the mission to ‘end extreme poverty throughout the world’. Jake Harriman, the founder and CEO of NURU, together with his team are on the onset of diversifying crop offerings among Kenyan farmers in an attempt to alleviate challenges stemming from severe climatic changes and low-crop quality. As 2014 is the first year for Kenyan farmers to grow alternative crops, the Nuru team faces the challenging task of convincing farmers to embrace diversification. Additionally, as part of its proof of concept philosophy, Nuru is establishing operations in Ethiopia. There, Nuru has to identify best marketable crops and promote these among Ethiopian farmers while empowering and engaging local leaders in the process. Finally, the team is looking for financing opportunities for Nuru’s entrepreneurial mission. Their funding opportunities come from the private markets, the philanthropic market, and the impact investing space. They are carefully analyzing these options and looking for alternatives in capital markets. Pondering on Nuru’s rewarding experience with KIVA, a web-based lending platform, the team wonders if crowdfunding may be a viable option to finance Nuru’s operations in Ethiopia. They are interested in equity crowdfunding but are not sure what might be the associated opportunities and risks. They, therefore, need to assess the merits of the practice and decide on how compelling it is for Nuru’s expansion plans to Ethiopia.
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