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A Conversation with Dr. Yunus on Social Business Day 2011 July 6, 2011

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, ECONOMY, Yunus.
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I was not sure that I could attend the evening session of social business day that held in Hotel Pan Pacific Sonargaon on 28th June 2011. The session was exclusively for the students. But as Dr.Yunus declared in the morning that others could attend but would not participate in the conversation I took the opportunity and stayed for the evening session.

When I entered the Hall after a small lunch in the costly Pan Pacific, I found the hall full of young girls and boys. Later I knew that they are students of different universities, private and public from Bangladesh and also some from other countries.

As we were waiting,Dr.Muhammad Yunus and Dr. Huzaifa Khorakiwala, President of Wockhardt Foundation approached to the lone Sofa on the podium.After a brief introduction by Dr. Huzaifa Khorakiwala conversation started. Dr. Khorakiwala took the moderator’s role.

We were informed that students from 20 professional institutes/universities across India were participating in the discussion. Also people are watching through yytube, a special online video media developed for the transmission of the program. Five of India’s top Management Institutes -Symbiosis Management Institute Pune, ISB Hyderabad, Great Lakes Chennai, Narsee Monjee Mumbai and Shree Ramachandra Medical University, Chennai were among the institutes participated.

Students from Indian institutes started to ask questions. Maximum 2 questions were allowed to be asked by each institution. On preventing the microlenders from going weird Dr. Yunus told that microfinance is not for business or not for making money but to support the poor to make them financially solvent. The microfinance institutions should be well regulated. On the way how students can play role in social business,he told that social business needs ideas, needs creativity. The young brains have ideas, so they will develop ideas, ideas for social business. On getting fund , he told that there will be social business fund. There are people who could contribute for social business fund and with creative ideas social businesses will develop.
Students from the audience also asked questions. But East West University surprised us all when they stood up singing ‘happy birth day’ to Dr. Yunus as the day was coincided with the birthday of Dr. Yunus. They also handed over flowers to Yunus coming to the podium.

Dr. Yunus continued to answer few more questions. Thousands of people were watching over internet. One of last questions was from East Timur. The question goes like,’people in East Timur have liking for social business but they have no entrepreneur to take the initiative’. Dr. Yunus in reply said that entrepreneurship is not something confined to a geographic area. Every person has the potential to be a good entrepreneur. One needs to have idea and take initiatives.

We enjoyed the conversation very much and the program looked ended early after 2 hours of conversation.

The whole episode was organised by Wockhardt Foundation of India and Yunus Centre Bangladesh. WF is a non-profit organisation committed to social uplift.

From Bangladesh, 400 students from 12 universities including IBA, North South,East West,Brac and Dhaka University and 50 students from USA, UK, Japan, Italy, Austria, Thailand etc participated in the program.

After the program, students signed their books in long queue by Professor Yunus. I have also signed my two books by him.

The whole episode is an unforgettable memory.

An ordinary citizen

Link : Live Telecast by Wockhardt Foundation

A Social Business Day July 4, 2011

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, ECONOMY, Yunus.
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I was just in time at the Pan Pcific Hotel Sonargaon at Dhaka on 28 June 2011, after 10 hours of long overnight journey by train. I introduced myself to the registration corner and got my name checked.

The theme of day was ‘achieving millennium development goals by social business’. The premier discussion started at 10 am. The session was chaired by Dr. Mohammad Yunus himself.

At the start of the program Professor Yunus introduced the guests coming from all over the world from Japan to Costa Rica. In his inaugural speech Dr. Yunus explained the social business, its scope and difficulties. Some of the points that I marked in his speech are- ‘people will attract to social business as it is a simple term, easy to understand’, ‘it is dedicated to alleviate the poverty’, ‘is addressed to any social problem’, ‘based on no loss no dividend policy’. He hopes that though social business is in it’s early stage like the aeroplane of the Write Brothers but soon the supersonic planes will fly over.

Then the speakers on the dias spoke on their experience on social business one by one. Thomas Stelzer, UN assistant secretary-general for policy coordination and inter-agency affairs was present in the day as a representative of Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of UN. He declared that Dr. Muhammad Yunus has been made a member, among 20 other Nobel Laureates, of the Millennium Advisory Group to the Secretary General. He told that he has come to have a deeper understanding of the social business as tool to achieve the millennium goals. Saori Dubourg, president of regional functions and country management for Asia-Pacific of BASF narrated their experience in providing insecticide impregnated mosquito nets to the rural people of Bangladesh as social business. Corinne Bazina, chief executive of Grameen-Danone described their struggle to provide the vitamin fortified yugurt to improve the nutrition of Bangladeshi children. Hans Reitz, founder of Grameen Creative Lab, Germany described his new mission of solving problems by social business after long years of expreience in entrepreneurship. Masaharu Okada, executive director of Grameen Creative Lab at Kyushu University in Japan discussed why they started Grameen Creative Lab to find out solutions to the social problems and Grameen Technology Lab to innovative technologies to support social business. He expressed using social business to serve the victims of Japan recent earth quacks and Tsunami.

A Bangladeshi businessman,based in Bahrain, running fiber glass business worldwide, narrated how he thought of founding a fibreglass factory in Bangladesh through social business model. At the end Dr. Yunus thanked all who came from abroad and all who participated from Banladesh to support the social business initiative.

Dr. Yunus also has given a short interview to the media. One interesting question they asked whether he starts social business bieng failed in microfinance. He replied ‘Microfinance (Grameen Bank) is also a sort of social business, whether it failed not time will tell. We are now thinking of many other social business to alleviate the poverty’.

About 1200 participants from home and abroad were present on the event. Delgates from USA, French, Germany, Italy, Swizerland, Japan, India, Middle East and Costarica attended the event. Citizen Groups representatives Mr. Hafizuddin, ex adviser to the caretaker government, Mahfuz Anam, editor Daily Star, Badiul Alam Majumder, Secretary , Citizens for Good Governance,Dr. Ainun Nishad, Bagladeshi water expert, Atiqul Hoque chowdhury, eminet play writer, Abul Ahsan Chowdhury, ex-state minister for foriegn affairs of last AL regime among many that I could recognize in the meeting among the locals.

After the premier program, Dr. Yunus visited the stalls that are set to project the social business activities that the companies and institutions were promoting.The stalls include Grameen Bank, Yunus Centre, Grameen Dannone, Grameen-BASF, Grameen Veolia, Japan Kyushu University, Grameen Nursing College, A solar energy from India, Grameen Shakti and few more. Dr. Yunus took the trouble to visit every stall and gave time to listen their ideas of projections.

The event was neat, well organised and highly satisfying to the participants.

An ordinary citizen

Social Business Day 2011- All the Links

Social business to create a world without poverty October 15, 2008

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Dr. Muhammad Yunus proposes a new concept-social business after his microfinance is accepted and practiced in more than 100 countries and by 100m people. By social business he means a new kind of business where the investors will invest their money in businesses but will take no dividends.The money will be recycled in the business to create jobs for the poor and to create more opportunities for them.

Muhammad Yunus believes charity can not bring the maximum benefit to the society. He thinks charity is of one time use. In social business the money will be multiplied and reused for the benefit of the society.

But why a man would go for the business which will not earn him profit? He says human being are two dimensional- one of his self always thinks for the good of him but the other self also thinks good of the others.
This other self will turn him to social business.

To make that his idea of social business is not mere a theory, he ventured with Danone to form a company -Grameen-Danone Food Products in Bangladesh to produce yogurt in small packages for consumption by the poor children to improve their nutrition.The total backup and forward linkages were set up in such a way that the benefit
goes specifically to the poor. I made a visit by myself to the plant at Bogra and was simply impressed by it. The second project of Yunus is with The Green Childrena USA based teenagers band that started an Eye Hospital in Bangladesh on the concept of social business.

Dr. Yunus hopes that one day separate share markets will be developed for the social businesses and only social businesses and enterprises will be enlisted there.

Yunus compiled all his ideas of social business in the book by the name ‘Creating a World Without Poverty-Social Business and Future of Capitalism’.

He virtually has given a new direction for the capitalism in the future. He hopes that in the near future the poverty will be eliminated and the only place where one will get the opportunity to see poverty is the museum.

He also believes that technology will help to alleviate the poverty to large extent. The Grameen solar system that earned international fame also brought light to thousands of houses in the villages of Bangladesh. Family of Grameen is also thought to be a sort of social business.

We hope that the social business will gradually be more accepted and spread all over the world and the dream of Muhammad Yunus of a poverty free world would come true.

An ordinary citizen

Venture of Grameen in America- Grameen America May 1, 2008

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, ECONOMY, NGO, People, Yunus.
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Grameen Ammerica –Grameen’s first micro-finance operation in New York opens recently. Dr. Yunus inaugurates the first branch at Jackson Heights formally though the branch started to work since January 2008.

Grameen America will work as an independent microfinance organization and will not depend on Grameen for its operation though the operational methods will be that of Grameen.

The target population of GA is initially the low income groups of New York City that includes Bangladeshis and Hispanics. Both the groups, more the Hispanics already showed their interest in the microfinance operation. So far 200 families have taken loans from the bank.


A visit to Grameen-Danone: the model of social business March 25, 2008

Posted by bdoza in AGRICULTURE, BANGLADESH, ECONOMY, People, Yunus.
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grameen-danone.jpgI felt an impulse to visit the Gramen-Danone plant when I learned from the internet that Grameen Danone is built on the model of social business- a concept knitted by Dr. Muhammad Yunus. ‘Social business is not to achieve personal gain but to pursue specific social goals’ he said in his book ‘Creating a World without Poverty-social business and the future of capitalism’.

I took a break of 2 days from my job and traveled 600 km to see the project by myself.

I took primary information from one of my friends staying at Bogra. Then I contacted the Resident Engineer who was in the charge of the project over telephone and expressed my interest and hinted that I may come any day.