Grupo SALA - Improving Lives, Spaces and the Environment
The Grupo SALA case focuses on entrepreneur Humberto Rodriguez's venture based in Bogota, Colombia. Rodriguez saw an opportunity in the environmental-solutions space when the Colombian government decided to privatize public services. Rodriguez started his venture in 1997 in a 62-square-meter office with an investment of $100,000 by a U.S.-based investor. By June 2015, the time of the case, Grupo SALA operated in three areas-solid waste, dangerous residues, and water and sewer-and had grown at an average rate of 21.3% over the 2002-2014 period. The group drew on three foundations-entrepreneurship, technology innovation and regulatory management, and successful environmental management-and, with 3,270 employees working in eighteen companies, recorded Colombian pesos 256 billion in revenue in 2014 (US$128 million at 2014 conversion rate of 1 Colombian Peso = US$0.0005). After a quick introduction, the case takes the reader through the following six sections: (1) Rodriguez's personal background and approach to risk-taking and entrepreneurship; (2) a window into Grupo SALA's businesses, organizational structure, and ownership; (3) the group's opportunities transforming Colombian attitudes and behavior toward waste, the introduction of containerization, the incineration of hazardous waste, water treatment, and the eventual end game around sustainability and improved lives, spaces, and the environment; (4) Rodriguez's and Grupo SALA's approach to management; (5) the staging of a first "shark tank" to encourage ideas to fuel Grupo SALA's future growth; and (6) Rodriguez's questions for his group regarding the road ahead.