William Azaroff to whom banking is only marginally interesting but using the platform of banking to solve social problems is a powerful draw, writes in his own blog azaroff.com :

Muhammad Yunus At Vancity, where I work, we recently created a division called Social Finance. This is where our Business Banking department now resides, as well as Commercial Mortgages and our amazing Community Business Banking team, where many of our most innovative and socially relevant products and services are generated.

Creating and naming this new division was an interesting risk, and as soon as I heard the name Social Finance, I thought to myself: Holy crap I can’t believe I get to work here. Read the rest of this entry »


Not-for-profit schemes can make society here ‘more balanced and humane’ writes Cheong Suk-Wai in Strait Times:

SINGAPORE is a global business centre with room for ‘social business’, according to Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus.

That is what the Bangladeshi economist and a pioneer of micro-credit calls not-for-profit businesses and programmes set up to generate jobs and other opportunities to help those trapped in poverty.

‘Social business’ is not charity, but more in keeping with the adage: It’s better to teach a man how to fish than to give him fish.

Speaking to The Straits Times here yesterday, Professor Yunus said: ‘The business proposition is for the poor to pay a tiny amount of money for you to take care of their needs. Read the rest of this entry »

Liam Black, one of the social success of England talks to Muhammad Yunus on difficulties and prospect of social business, the conversation published in Social Enterprise :

Professor Muhammed Yunus has made his name as one of the most successful and innovative social entrepreneurs in the world. In 2006, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for setting up the Grameen Bank, which has given small loans to thousands of people in Bangladesh, helping them to start up their own businesses and lift themselves out of poverty. Now, he is transforming the world of big business by joining forces with multi-national dairy firm, Danone, and water services company, Veolia, to bring nutritional yoghurt and drinking water to the masses. Here, he talks to one of England’s own social success, Liam Black, about the future of social business, the battle with fat cats and what he would do with a magic wand.

Liam Black

I’m a social entrepreneur and have been running a busy restaurant chain called Fifteen, which was set up by one of our top chefs, Jamie Oliver. We take on young homeless people and those coming out of prison and turn them into chefs. We invest in their business ideas when they leave us. Before that, I ran a charity called the Furniture Resource Centre in Liverpool, which we turned into a social business, so I knew all about you. We grew from a small, very traditional charity, but moved into selling products and services to enable poor people to furnish their homes. I have just given up the Fifteen role and set up a business which banks on the same idea as you. People say they love the social business idea, but really it’s crap, isn’t it? Capitalism’s not going to change. Danone could afford to do it. There are people out there who believe in it though. The challenge you have is how to turn people onto it. I believe in it. Read the rest of this entry »

Below is the prepared text of the Commencement address by Muhammad Yunus, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, for MIT’s 142nd Commencement held June 6, 2008.

Good Morning:

It as a very special privilege for me to speak at the commencement ceremony of this prestigious institution.

What a wonderful feeling to be here today. To be with all of you, some of the brightest minds in the world, right at a moment when you decide the path you will embark on in life. You represent the future of the world. The choices that you will make for yourself will decide the fate of mankind. This is how it has always been. Sometimes we are aware of it, most of the time we are not. I hope you’ll remain aware of it and make an effort to be remembered not simply as a creative generation but as a socially-conscious creative generation. Try it.

I had no idea whether my life would someday be relevant to anyone else’s. But in the mid-seventies, out of frustration with the terrible economic situation in Bangladesh I decided to see if I could make myself useful to one poor person a day in the village next door to the university campus where I was teaching. I found myself in an unfamiliar situation. Out of necessity I had to find a way out. Since I did not have a road-map, I had to fall back on my basic instinct to do that. At any moment I could have withdrawn myself from my unknown path, but I did not. I stubbornly went on to find my own way. Luckily, at the end, I found it. That was microcredit and Grameen Bank. Read the rest of this entry »