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New Market Research for Apis Alba

Title: New Market Research for Apis Alba

Subject Area: Honey Production, Health Foods, Export

Region: Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS): Georgia & Kazakhstan

Industry: Honey health foods, honey production, and honey sales.

Company: Apis Alba, Ltd.

Client: Olga Gavrilik and Dr. Alex Gavrilik

Dilemma: In the summer of 2021, Olga Gavrilik and Dr. Alex Gavrilik, co-founders of Apis Alba, a raw honey producer and distributor based in Belarus, were deciding where to expand distribution. The decision became paramount when Belarus’ political unrest resulted in threats of economic sanctions from the West. To ensure the future of Apis Alba, the co-founders looked to CIS countries as potential new markets for Apis Alba exports

Project Relevance: Each team member working through this case had chosen this project based on their own unique professional or personal interests:

Chris Farrar: I am a scientist in the pharmaceutical industry and am interested in how medical products are viewed and marketed in the former soviet states of the CIS.

Amelia Hagan: Since I have been learning about the production/manufacturing flow at my own company, I was interested in learning about Apis Alba’s production process and their positioning for new market entry.

Mohammad Khan: I am a Pharmacist in the pharmaceutical industry and interested in how the health and food industry is advancing in CIS countries.

Piotr Pietruczuk: I am interested in international trade in Eastern European countries given my Polish background.

Eleni Halepakis: I have worked in the healthcare field for many years and am interested in customer relations and satisfaction especially in this region.

Data Collection: The team collected data from the business owners and from valuable online sources such as CIA World Factbook, Statista, Hofstede Insights, and Privacyshield.gov. We inferred qualitative data from a regional competitor’s sales material and from conversations with CIS ex-pat relatives living in the United States. The team considered Apis Alba’s business model, resources, operations, capabilities, and stakeholders, outlining strengths and weaknesses for each factor. Data were analyzed utilizing heat maps, competition analysis, Porter’s Five Forces, PESTLE and SWOT.

Generated Value: Based upon our SWOT analysis matching company strengths to industry opportunities, and company weaknesses to industry threats, as well as assessment of the industry in each country via Porter’s Five Forces, we recommended export to Georgia. In the short-term a localization strategy will enable rapid entry into the Georgian honey market, providing revenue to maintain and grow Apis Alba. Long-term, we recommend an international strategy, where Apis Alba can build market share and secure lines of distribution within Georgia, eventually exporting to Turkey.

What’s Next and Project Utilization: This project offered each team member an opportunity to apply the strategic frameworks learned in class to a real company. Each team member said the following about this project:

Amelia said: I often rely on data for decisions at work. The strategies we used in this case taught me to more heavily rely on the concept of a repeatable strategy for my profession and my direct reports as they grow in their careers.

Chris said: Working on a project for an industry in a part of the world with which I was not familiar, and a group of varied backgrounds built personal capital. This project required connecting with the client’s reality, goals and situation for earning their trust, ie. social capital development. Finally, this project helped to crystalize the frameworks for transforming data into strategy, building professional capital. In the future, I will leverage the capital that I have built through this project and continue to consciously build upon and refine these sources of capital.

Mohammad said: I am humbled to have had the opportunity to learn more about the culture and market for an unfamiliar region as well as industry. The frameworks taught and implemented in our case are valuable resources that I will leverage in my future professions as a means to apply towards business strategies and decision making. It was an excellent opportunity to meet and create solutions that are relevant to a specific client and developing a business model with their mission in mind.

Eleni said: I was able to learn how to build the framework for a globalization recommendation with zero previous experience and little global knowledge. More importantly, I was able to rediscover the link between business and quality patient experience in healthcare while learning from Olga at Apis Alba. Understanding her passionate work reignited my motivation to deliver a strategy with meaning, just as I would for patients in our hospitals. I am thankful for this rare opportunity, and even more grateful for the team I was able to learn from.

Piotr said: I am grateful for the opportunity to leverage my Eastern European background and international work experience throughout the Apis Alba project. I will carry the lessons of understanding new markets and applying frameworks for decision-making/overcoming obstacles throughout my future initiatives.

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