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Q&A with Hamed Ghoddusi, author of Kandelous case study in Iran

Hamed Ghoddusi is a PhD candidate at the Vienna Graduate School of Finance. He also holds two post-graduate degrees in quantitative economics and business administration and a BSc in industrial engineering. He has more than 10 years of freelance consulting experiences including an 18-month cooperation with UNIDO HQ and more than 30 corporate strategy and business planning projects in a wide range of Iranian industries. He also has taught 60 short courses in these areas. Moreover, he has served for more than 12 years in different positions in NGOs, business press, management training institutions and professional websites inside and outside of Iran. Hamed’s areas of interests include real options valuation of investment projects, finance for development, management consulting methods and skills and the economics of natural resources.

Kandelous Group has introduced the concept of mass production of herbal medicine, cosmetics, oils, foods and hygiene products combined with rural tourism in Iran.

To download the Kandelous case study from the GIM database, please click here.

What is Kandelous’ basic value proposition and what makes it financially sustainable?

In my opinion, “connecting urban and in particular middle-class consumers to nature” is the core value proposition of Kandelous. This value is offered to the market via a wide range of products and services, such as a variety of herbal and natural products (cosmetics, food, drinks, and health materials) and rural and cultural tourism. For many years, herbal products have been offered in traditional shops called “Attari”. However, Kandelous adapted modern marketing and product development strategies to attract a new group of consumers. This generated a previously untapped high-end demand for the region’s natural resources and labor.

What drove Kandelous’ founder, Dr. Jahangiri, to deviate from his formal career path in the chemical industry and set up Kandelous?

He had a deep passion for the well-being of people in his birthplace as well as for conserving the cultural heritage of the region. Being an entrepreneur and a manager in addition to having a relatively strong financial base enabled him to focus for many years on building physical and cultural infrastructure of the region in order to realize his dream.

What are the main challenges faced by local communities in a village like Kandelous?

They had to go through a cultural and economic-base change. The silent and isolated environment of their village has to host thousands of tourists from other places. If the process is not managed properly, it might be harmful for the environment and nature.

What are the prospects for the growth of an inclusive tourism industry in Iran, beyond Kandelous’ experience?

There is a huge potential for rural tourism in Iran. The country is endowed with a diverse climate and culture. Therefore, in different regions of the country, rural tourism is able to offer unique local experience to domestic and international visitors. There are already ad-hoc cases of such initiatives; however, a systematic activity and policy support can lead to a boom in these activities and generate thousands of jobs in the sector.

What has been your personal experience going through the GIM training and case research process?

I enjoyed this experience a lot. GIM workshop provided the exposure to key elements of the literature as well as the chance of meeting a big group of people from different countries, who share the same passion.  The process of case-writing was fun and at the same time instructive.  It allowed me to focus on a business environment different from a typical consulting or research project.  I also benefited a lot from the exchange of ideas with GIM team in the case editing and finalizing stage.