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Sustainability Center at Cornell’s Johnson School of Business Partners with SC Johnson to Combat Malaria in Ghana

The Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at Cornell University’s Johnson School of Business last week announced the launch of a new product concept designed to help prevent the spread of malaria in Ghana by engaging homemakers in low-income rural areas with products and practices for cleaning their homes.

Developed in partnership with SC Johnson, the concept is a membership-based club called WOW® that families in the Bobikuma village of Ghana pay to join, receiving in exchange a bundle of four different SC Johnson products in refillable formats; pest control products to manage insects and home cleaning products to keep homes clean and fresh. The memberships, which are sold to groups of seven families, also include group coaching sessions around home and family-care best practices and loyalty rewards for every three consecutive months of membership.

“The WOW® offering and business model are designed to tackle two key business challenges that come with low-income markets,” Erik Simanis, managing director of market creation strategies at Cornell, said in a statement. “The first is to persuade consumers to adopt very new routines and behaviors associated with the products,” he continued. “The second is to generate the margins needed to sustain the high-intensity sales process for acquiring and retaining customers.”

The WOW launch was funded by a $1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the SC Johnson Fund to create a new business model to bring SC Johnson mosquito repellents and insecticides to low-income, rural families in developing countries. It marks continued collaboration between SC Johnson and the Johnson School on sustainability projects. Previous partnerships have included a project in Kenya to create a business serving urban slum communities.

“The WOW® concept is an exciting development to come out of our unique collaboration with SC Johnson and exemplifies our continued focus on developing competitive, profitable business opportunities that address social and environmental problems,” Mark Milstein, director of the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, said in a statement.

For more information on the Johnson School’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, click here. For more on the WOW project, click here.

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