A case study written by Alfred Vernis, Associate Professor in the Department of Strategy and General Management at ESADE, and Lourdes Urriolagoitia, Researcher at the ESADE Entrepreneurship Institute (EEI), has received international recognition as the winner of the Ruth Greene Memorial Case Award. This award was presented by the North American Case Research Association (NACRA) to the authors of the year’s best non-North American case study at the organisation’s annual conference in Chicago, Illinois (USA).
The case study describes the creation and development of Veritas, a supermarket chain specialised in organic products that was founded in 2002 by Silvio Elías, who holds an undergraduate degree and MBA from ESADE, along with several partners in Barcelona, including Carles Torrecilla, ESADE alumnus and Associate Professor in the Department of Marketing at ESADE.
Mr. Elías, who currently serves as General Manager of Veritas, called the award “very exciting” and noted that he and his business partners are grateful for “this recognition of the magnitude of the challenge that the company decided to face and continues to face every day”. Prof. Torrecilla, a co-founder of the chain, commented: “Veritas is a clear example of the sort of project that comes out of the classrooms of a humanistic business school.” He added: “This is an organisation where values have an integral presence, from the mission to the end customer, not to mention with employees, the environment and suppliers.”
Creation of a sustainable company
“Veritas is a concept that previously did not exist in Spain. Its objective was to generate volume and power, thus driving down the prices that previously constituted a barrier to the consumption of organic products,” explained Prof. Vernis, a co-author of the case study. “Another challenge was that, at the time, the general public was largely ignorant and there was much confusion about organic products.”
The case study shows students – especially at ESADE – how a sustainable company can be created from scratch and helps them understand the constant challenges that must be faced. “For ESADE, it is very important that case studies on entrepreneurs with a clear commitment to sustainability be discussed and studied in the classroom,” commented Ms. Urriolagoitia, a co-author of the case study. The study, titled Veritas – The first real food supermarket, was written in the framework of ESADE’s collaboration with the Social Enterprise Knowledge Network (SEKN), a joint effort by top Latin American schools and Harvard Business School to introduce these topics at business schools around the world. Over the past four years, ESADE has been working towards creating the Entrepreneurship Case Collection, a compilation of case studies that examine entrepreneurs as well as early-stage investors in Europe.