Moltacte: A social enterprise that puts employees like me at the center



Alfred Vernis


ESADE Business School Barcelona

Published in


In June 2020, with the COVID-19 crisis affecting physical retail and accelerating the trend of digitalization, the leadership team of Moltacte, a work integration social enterprise that manages a chain of clothing outlet stores in urban areas outside of Barcelona, Spain, is considering options for innovating the business model. Moltacte has a very clear purpose to support the health and well-being of its employees, more than half of whom are people with severe mental illness. It has developed a management model that puts people (not profits) at the center of the organization and ensures that its people are the driving force of the company, not passive “beneficiaries,” charity cases, or subordinates following orders. In its current form, this model is based largely on in-person, human-to-human interaction. This raises the question of whether it is possible and desirable to develop online activity that is compatible with its peoplecentered approach.

Whereas cases about social enterprises are typically written from the perspective of the entrepreneur,
the narrator of this case is a character with mental illness, who is a fictional composite of many real Moltacte
employees. The authors made this choice because we wanted Moltacte’s mentally ill employees to be at the
center of the case and the discussion as students explore management models that seek to put beneficiaries
at the center.