In a just concluded two week (February 23 – March 7) tour of three countries, France, USA, and Cambodia, Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus launched new social businesses, and visited social businesses already in operation, participated in board meetings of social business funds, and met potential investors in social businesses.
In Paris, Professor Yunus attended the board meeting of Grameen Credit Agricole social business fund. The Board approved four projects for funding, two in social business, two in microfinance, in four countries. During the visit a plan was discussed for a French initiative to set up four French cities, namely, Lille, Cergy, Lyon and Marseilles, as social business cities. These cities will create social business funds, set up a social business institute in each city in one of their leading universities, and create social businesses. Initial focus of social businesses in these cities will be on youth unemployment and waste management. A forum will be held in Lille in October to launch these initiatives. City governments of these cities are taking the lead in this programme.