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The COVID-19 pandemic and the case of Little Birds Kindergarten in Qatar: strategic challenges and the role of leadership
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Learning outcomes The aim of this study is to make students understand the significance of strategy formulation and the impact of internal and external factors on the strategy adopted by the firm. Upon the completion of this case study, the students will be able to achieve the following: • map out relevant macro-environment strategical factors of an organization; • assessing organizations industry and competitive environment; • outline strategic group maps to assess positions of key competitors; • develop issues priority matrices; • testing competitive power of resources; and • identifying an organizations internal strengths and external threats. Case overview/synopsis Across the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic left few organizations untouched and many entrepreneurs fighting to stay afloat. Here we look at the survival dilemma faced by the founder of Little Birds Kindergarten, in Doha, Qatar. Founded by a local Qatari businesswoman, the kindergarten offered a British-style curriculum and an Early Years Foundation Stage structure; with her profound passion for technology, the founder (here called Fatma) has always believed that integrating technology into a child’s early learning opens the door to limitless opportunities and potential. Therefore, she ensured that the kindergarten consistently invested in advanced educational technology and the accompanying software. Yet, while the reputation of Little Birds Kindergarten stayed high, the COVID-19 pandemic stunted the growth in enrolments. Fatma stopped paying herself a salary and even drew on her own savings to keep the kindergarten going but it still did not earn enough to compensate for her initial investment. So, despite her passionate concern for the kindergarten, she worried about being unable to keep it afloat for much longer. The purpose of this case study is to shed light on the strategic posture, performance and market position of one kindergarten. From there, it surveys the opportunities in the education industry that are unique to student enrolment and highlights what a kindergarten can do to develop a survival strategy.