Hantz Woodlands: Rebuilding Detroit One Tree at a Time
Hantz Woodlands, LLC, is a startup company, a social enterprise in Detroit, and the world’s largest urban farm. The company is committed to using agriculture as a tool for economic development and blight removal in an urban center. The case narrative is told from the perspective of the CEO, Mike Score, and owner, John Hantz. The case leads the reader through the complex history of the company while presenting students with a decisional challenge of determining the next steps for Hantz Woodlands. The case is deeply anchored in the context of Detroit’s long historical decline and current desired resurgence. The case clearly illustrates how a social enterprise can face fierce resistance even among the community it intends to serve. Entrepreneurial resilience and creativity are major themes in his case. The case also presents an opportunity to evaluate a unique social enterprise model and corporate social responsibility (CSR) focused on economic development and blight-busting within a fixed geographic area.
1. Identify the components and assess the viability of a social enterprise business model.
2. Identify the pivot points and emergent strategy in a social enterprise startup process.
3. Evaluate the challenges of public opposition to social enterprise interventions and the need for entrepreneurial resilience to achieve a successful launch.
4. Recommend potential steps for a social enterprise in moving forward.