SSE’s are tasked with an evolving landscape requiring more stringent listing and governance requirements, coupled with issuers progressively seeking investors aligned to their mission. Our start-up leader, Zina Sanyoura (IMD MBA alumna 2008), set the scene and guided us through the value creation process for SwiSOX. We hit the road running.
The genesis of our analysis was a deep dive that would dissect the landscape. As we sized up the external environment, we pondered on the following questions; Is there evidence supporting the existence of a sufficient supply of enterprises to absorb the increased growth of capital-backed demand for impact investments? How do we address the divergence between the readiness of investment firms and a company’s reluctance to give up equity? More importantly, how can we sensitize companies creating impact in various communities, to consider impact investing as means to raise capital? We then treated ourselves to a sunset drink at The Lacustre bar by the lake.
For three months, we continued to brainstorm on a competitive advantage. We swiftly realised that a barrier to entry does not solely refer to the hindrance a new company faces when entering a market. Rather, from an economic perspective, it refers to whether the companies that manage to enter, can replicate the incumbent’s cost structure or not. As our professor of strategy Misiek Piskorski would say; ‘If this is a good strategy, how come no one has copied it?’ Also, ‘What about the trade-off? Without a trade-off, it is way too easy to copy.’ We are the critical eye to our start-up, and after narrowing down to define the outcome, we came me up with an integrated set of choices, to guide SwiSOX in navigating the competitive dynamics.
As we tie up loose ends, we continue to marvel at the multi-cultural experience we bring from 5 continents in tackling a business challenge, and the iterative process we employ to refine our final storyboard.
Our key takeaway is agility in the face of uncertainty. We are fully aware that this sector continues to prototype new approaches, which is why sometimes we look at the model in terms of dollars and cents and other times, a high level approach of advantages versus disadvantages will do.