“Building Future Markets:” A Wharton Entrepreneurship Course Taught in Cape Town, South Africa

By Clare Leinweber, Senior Associate Director, Wharton Entrepreneurship

Cape Town MacWharton’s Global Modular Course on Building Future Markets was taught for the third year in a row by Professor Ian MacMillan over Penn’s spring break in Cape Town, South Africa.  The entrepreneurship course is focused on how to enter, and in many cases actually create, markets in countries that are poised for growth.  One of thirteen Global Modular Courses offered by Wharton in 2012-2013, Building Future Markets enrolled Wharton students from the traditional full-time MBA program and the Wharton MBA Program for Executives (from both the Philadelphia and San Francisco campuses). These Wharton students were joined by twelve MBAs from The University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB). Mixing these diverse students greatly enhanced the learning experience.

Khayaletsha Township

The course included both faculty lectures and briefings by executives who have brought their firms into emerging markets such as India, China, South America, and Africa. 

During the course students learned how to:

  • Identify, evaluate and create future market opportunities.
  • Embrace uncertainty and manage risk in the creation of a market.
  • Plan and execute under uncertainty
  • Analyze and anticipate the sociopolitical challenges of new market creation.

Cape Town Harbor

The guest speakers in this year’s course were memorable. Among them were Richard Lord, Founder of Rothesay, who discussed his early entrepreneurial experience in the telecom industry; Hein Koegelenberg, CEO of La Motte wine estate and Leopard’s Leap Wines, who discussed bringing South African wines to the Chinese market; and Photy Tzelios, Director of Supply Chain Management for Shoprite, who discussed the company’s challenges in opening up African markets for the grocery store chain.

Across these diverse industries and countries, the advice to students was remarkably consistent: Understand the cultural nuances of the country you are entering; develop trustworthy local partnerships; be patient and listen; understand the regulations and work systematically within them; and use utmost caution in countries where bribes are common.

The students are currently completing their group projects–developing a “future market creation plan” for launching a venture in an emerging market. These mixed project teams will surely develop an eclectic and interesting range of new ideas.

Cape Town Lunch