Challenge conventional economic models

Source: The Daily Star
Date: November 28, 2014

Yunus urges entrepreneurs at Social Business Summit
Sushmita S Preetha, from Mexico City

Muhammad YunusNobel laureate Muhammad Yunus has called for collective effort at both academic and practical levels to challenge conventional economic models and create openings through social business.

Unlike established economic models, social business believes that human beings are not inherently selfish and that everyone, irrespective of their age, education and background, has the capacity to be entrepreneurs, he said.

“We have to challenge the existing well-argued thinking and establish that all young people are entrepreneurs and should not be condemned to be mere job seekers,” he said in his speech at the second Global Social Business Summit Research Conference on Tuesday.

The event, which was a curtain-raiser for the sixth Global Social Business Summit, brought together researchers in the field of social business to share their findings.

Organised since 2009 by Grameen Creative Lab and Yunus Centre, the Global Social Business Summit is now the main platform for social businesses worldwide to foster discussions, actions and collaborations to develop effective solutions to the most pressing problems plaguing the world.

Fight poverty to end modern slavery, Nobel laureate Yunus says

Nobel peace laureate Muhammad Yunus speaks at the Trust Women conference in London November 19, 2014. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett


LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The fight against modern slavery can only succeed if poverty is rooted out and sustainable social business models are able to prevent vulnerable people from falling prey to traffickers, Nobel Peace laureate Muhammad Yunus said on Wednesday.

"A whole range of issues need to be addressed to fight trafficking: education, legal rights - but poverty is the main cause," the founder of the microcredit movement said.

"Unless you focus on poverty, no matter what you do, you can reduce trafficking a bit but it will keep going on because it's the lack of quality of life that makes people vulnerable," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on the sidelines of the Trust Women conference in London.

TCF announces entrepreneurship awardees

Source: Arab News
Date: Wednesday 5 November 2014

ENTREPRENEURIAL AWARD: TCF Board of Directors Chairman Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah, middle, who is also the Saudi deputy foreign minister, meets Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. At left is Abdulaziz H. Al-Mutairi, TCF board member and GM.The Centennial Fund (TCF) announced the winners in the 2014 Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Global Entrepreneurship Award at a glittering ceremony at the upscale Ritz-Carlton Riyadh on Monday night.

“I congratulate the winners of the awards for what they have achieved because of their creativity,” said TCF board of directors chairman Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah, who is also the Saudi deputy foreign minister.

Prince Abdullaziz bin Abdullah and Abdulaziz H. Al-Mutairi, a member of the board of trustees and GM of TCF, honored award recipients on the occasion.

The prince thanked everyone who had helped to make the event as successful as it was, including Sabic and Shell, represented by Patrick Van Daele, vice president and country chairman.

Prince Abdulaziz also congratulated Muhammad Yunus, who had earlier been chosen for the 2nd Global Entrepreneurship Award (GEA-2014).

Prince Abdulaziz said that TCF was keen to serve the community and society with the holding of the entrepreneurship forum, which had been held earlier on Monday morning. He noted that it was taken part in by well-known local and foreign experts on entrepreneurship and that it was made possible with the full support of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.

The prince said that it was one of the TCF’s objectives and that it was significant to the national economy. He also noted the TCF’s achievements.

“I take this opportunity to thank King Abdullah for the support TCF has received to help fulfill the dreams and aspirations of the youth in this country,” said the prince.

Speaking with Arab News earlier on his behalf, Abdulaziz H. Al-Mutairi, TCF general manager and a member of the board of directors, said that Prince Abdulaziz hoped that young Saudi entrepreneurs will grow by going global.

He said that TCF would help them by give them training under its 35,000 trainers in different colleges and universities all over the Kingdom.

Khaled Alolaiwi, a young Saudi entrepreneur, lauded TCF’s plan and goal, saying that “it will go a long way in helping the Saudi economy grow.”

Alolaiwi manages Tarjamat Office, which rendered simultaneous interpretation services on the occasion.

Yunus, who introduced micro-finance in Bangladesh, also talked on the occasion, saying that he started his mission to help the poor by lending $47 dollars to 20 people.

He said that this became very successful and, as a result, many people also approached him for loans.
“I eventually went to the banks to convince them to lend money to youth and I was asked as guarantor. This was in 1976,” he told the audience.

He started Grameen Bank, which already has $8.5 billion in assets and has helped about 8.5 million families.
“Thousands of family members that received help from Grameen Bank have become successful in their chosen endeavors. Many have become doctors,” Yunus said.

He added that “there’s a big difference between the first and second generations of Grameen Bank borrowers.”
He said that he had told borrowers that they “should come up with a social business and create jobs to help solve human problems and get away from profit-making.”

“The mission should be to solve people’s problems, create social businesses and invite others to become entrepreneurs. As a result, we received several applications. In social business, no profit and loans are made available without interest,” he said.

He added, “Whatever amount we give to borrowers, they should return it without any profit for us.”

He added that society-created systems are responsible for unemployment.

“Everything should be geared toward stability,” he said.

Grameen Bank has expanded by establishing branches overseas. “We have two in Los Angeles, two in San Francisco, and one each in Boston, Nebraska, and Charlotte. Our average loan in the United States is $1,500,” he said.

He added that “What we’re doing is not a Bangladeshi phenomenon. It’s global. The first mission for an aspiring entrepreneur is to learn how to entrepreneur,” he said.

His book, “Banker to the Poor,” contains the concepts and ideas on micro-lending which Yunus espouses.

The other winners of the 2014 Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Global Entrepreneurship Award were: Amer Bukvia for best pioneer project (Bosnia Herzegonina); Muhammed Asfor, best existing project (Bahrain); Sara Al-Otaibi, best female pioneer (Saudi Arabia); Aminah Al-Hawaj, co-winner as best female pioneer; Asma Gaith, best female mentor (Egypt); Lojain Al-Jabbawi, best business plan (UAE); Abhishek Garodia, best project (United Kingdom); Tareq Mansour, best pioneer, 2nd place, Egypt; Thamer Al-Fanshuthi, best male mentor (Saudi Arabia); Khaled Al-Khodair, best existing project, 2nd place (Saudi Arabia); Nasser Muhammed Al-Jasuin, best existing project, 3rd place (UAE); Fidah Abu Turki, best female pioneer, 2nd place (Palestinian Authority); Yusuf Jamjoom, best existing plan, 2nd place (Saudi Arabia); Amal Al-Rumah, best existing project (Saudi Arabia); Ayan Aramadi, best project idea, 2nd place (Palestinian Authority); and Khaled Saed Al-Zahrani, best project idea co-winner, 2nd place (Saudi Arabia).

The Ripple Effect - Women Powering Work Through Microfinance And Entrepreneurship


Source: Ashoka UK - Tue, 29 Jul 2014
Author: Reem Rahman

Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

When Roshaneh Zafar quit her job at the World Bank in 1995 to establish the Kashf Foundation, she carried with her a moment of inspiration and a powerful vision for the future. These came from a chance meeting with Muhammad Yunus, which instilled a strong belief in empowering women—socially and economically—through the Grameen Bank model. Ten years later, after plenty of opposition along the way, she has proven her critics wrong by showing that women-centered and women-managed microfinance programs in Pakistan can indeed flourish and succeed. Beginning with 15 clients in 1996, Kashf now boasts approximately 500,000 families. The organization has not only provided women with ${esc.dollar}265 million in loans, but it has also expanded to provide women with education, training, and employment opportunities. I caught up with Roshaneh to talk about her journey and the key lessons in motivation, strategy, and creating impact that she’s learned along the way.

What is the inspiration that led you to the field of women’s empowerment in particular?

In Pakistan, 51% of our population is considered to be gainfully employed, but their work is not recognized. Women do contribute to the economy but a lot of times through informal activities for which they aren’t remunerated. One of our key challenges is to build the business case for investing in women’s economic work, which is something that blends both microfinance and gender issues.

When we started working in microfinance with the aim of empowering women economically and alleviating poverty within their families, we came up against many challenges, the first being: How do we convince a woman to take loans, invest them in a business and then make financial choices to enhance revenue? It is because we have these challenges that we continue to do what we do. We got involved to change social dynamics, and this won’t happen without women’s involvement in the economy.  For us it is an imperative.

Why did you choose microfinance?

With social sector projects, it can often take a generation to see any real change. However, with microfinance, this is fast-tracked. The moment the women with whom we work start earning that extra ${esc.dollar}10, ${esc.dollar}20, or ${esc.dollar}30—things begin to change in the household. They are able to make choices for themselves and for their children, in terms of what they eat, what they wear, and where they study, and the long-term decisions they make for their future.

Another reason we do microfinance is because of the ripple effect: you change one woman, she’s going to change ten more. To give you a simple example: we all know that social contact enables people to progress and access further opportunities.  In Pakistan, most women are connected only to their families; they do not have the opportunity to socialize with women who are non-relatives. The introduction of microfinance is changing this. Now there are communities across Pakistan where it’s the norm for women to leave the house to go to a meeting or to take part in a financial education program—and people don’t question it. These women are the role models for current and future generati

What are current challenges that you face through your work in the field of women’s empowerment?

In Pakistan, we have great laws for women’s empowerment, but they’re not being implemented, which creates a gap. This is something that the UN is aware of. If you’re talking about broader issues like education and healthcare, then of course we know that those are areas that need to be worked on before women can be empowered.

However, if we think about the individual female entrepreneur, there are four specifics that affect whether or not she is successful:

-Impact reach (where and how she is selling her product)
-Access to training and education (to produce new products and diversify)

This is what the entrepreneurs with whom we work told us. We’ve done a lot of research on this through our “Business Incubation Lab,” which supports women who are running businesses and helps them scale those businesses up.

Finally, there are challenges around gender and microfinance. We may claim to work for women, but are we measuring the right things—who is using the loans, who is making the financial decisions—to ensure this is the case?

What would you highlight as the two biggest, most exciting opportunities on the horizon?

Chancellor's opening speech at the Graduation Ceremony of Glasgow Caledonian University - June 2014

Principal and Vice Chancellor, Pro Vice Chancellors, Chairman of the Court, Members of the Court and the Senate, Distinguished Guests, Members of the Staff of Glasgow Caledonian University, Graduates, Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is my privilege to welcome you to this graduation and awards ceremony.

The graduation ceremony is one of the most memorable events in anybody’s life. This comes at the end of a long journey of academic and social preparations. This ceremony tells you that you are now prepared to begin your life to achieve your life purpose.

I must remind you that you are the most powerful young generation in human history. You are powerful because you have the most amazing technology at your command which no other generation could even dream of. Make sure you know that you are different than all other generations. Make sure you use that power. If you don’t, it will all be wasted away. Make sure you use it for grand purposes, not squander it away for silly purposes. Get ready to make all the impossibles possible. You can create a new world which no other generation could do. Because you are supermen and superwomen.

Present world has many problems; unemployment, poverty, unnecessary deaths in the absence of simple and almost costless health services. You can change it all. That’s what this graduation ceremony is all about. It tells you that you are ready to get into action. Go ahead, and create a world which will be different, which will be way much better. Go ahead, and create a world where there will be no poverty. Only place you can see poverty will be the poverty museums. There will be no unemployment. The world ‘unemployment’ will die of natural death because of non-use. No one will live on state charity, because nobody will be unemployed and without income. There will be no global warming. Each day the world will become more safe than on the previous day.

This university will be proud of you because you have learnt how to use your power to change the world. Use this university, your alma mater, as the hub of all your creative initiatives. We would like to learn from you, and pass this learning to the next generation of young people so that they can follow your examples.

Congratulations to all of your for qualifying to attend today’s graduation ceremony. Congratulations to all the parents who are present here to witness the great moment in the lives of their sons and daughters. Congratulations to the friends and relatives for being here to make this event memorable. Let us give our combines best wished to these young men and women for their journey ahead.

Now I have the great pleasure in declaring this Graduation and Awards ceremony, open.

Let us celebrate the day and make it uniquely memorable.

Thank you.