Wednesday, June 3, 2015

are you a greater fan of yunus or of football? as i recall yunus spoke at 91st birthday of mandela in 2009 and wanted south africans to include celebrations of end poverty heroes at their coming world cup- we now know why the fifa brigade were least receptive netwiok in world to suggest this to The people of South Africa have an indomitable spirit. With this spirit and with its vast human and other resources, South Africa can be the first country to bui...
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Monday, May 31, 2010

Washington DC

home of and founded by sam daley-harris who has advocated need for development economics learning exchange worldwide linking Yunus of Grameen, Abed of BRAC and Munro of Jamii Bora. 2010s summit in April saw 2000 people celebrate Jamii Bora in Kenya with Queen Sofia of Spain leading the way and contributing to 2010s Decade of Sustainability by commiting to host world microcreditsummit 2011 out of Spain. Another world supporter of Dr Yunus' microeconomics system designs and community building for over 20 yers is Hillary Clinton, and President Obama is Son of Microcredit.

May 14 (2010) saw start of global book tour with Dr Yunus new book Building Social Business

main sponsor Robert H Smith Business School Uni of Maryland and Ronald Reagan World Trade Center which a fortnight earlier had seen the inaugural Presidents Entrepreneurship Summit - a 60 country celebration in which President Obama named Muhammad Yunus as a leading example of entrepreneurship's contributions to human sustainability.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

27 April 2010

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at Summit on Entrepreneurship
Says gathering sought to sustain, strengthen and expand entrepreneurship

Office of the Spokesman
April 27, 2010


Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
Closing Remarks at the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship

April 27, 2010
Ronald Reagan Building
Washington, D.C.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. I want to thank Jim Wolfensohn for participating in this conference. This is hot off the presses. The Social Entrepreneurship in the Middle East: Towards Sustainable Development for the Next Generation, produced by the Wolfensohn – as in Jim Wolfensohn – Center for Development at the Brookings Institute – apparently, this is an issue whose time has come. And that’s because of all of you.

So it is such a pleasure to be with you at one of the most exciting gatherings of entrepreneurs anywhere in the world today. And I join those who have already welcomed you to Washington and thank you for helping to make President Obama’s Summit on Entrepreneurship such a success. With this summit, we carry forward a conversation about the role that entrepreneurs can and must play in a healthy, thriving, prosperous, stable society, and how each of us, no matter where we live or who we are, can help to spread the principles and the benefits of entrepreneurship to people everywhere.

I would imagine that some of you came wondering, well, what is this really all about and why is the United States and the Obama Administration sponsoring this conversation? And it is because we believe that by bringing together men and women from dozens of countries and all walks of life, this summit has made one thing clear: Being entrepreneurial does not depend on your job title or what you studied in school or even that you went to formal schooling at all. Entrepreneurship is a way of looking at the world and seeing not just obstacles, but opportunities; not just the world as it is, but the world as it could be, and then having the confidence, the determination, and the resources to move those worlds closer together.

An entrepreneur is anyone with the imagination to conceive of a new product, process, or service, and the ability and persistence to turn that idea into something real. My father was a small businessperson. By that, I mean very small. He employed maybe one, two, or three laborers depending upon what he was doing. He ran a small printing plant for fabrics. He enlisted my mother, my brothers and me. We were often down there at the factory doing the work of pouring the paint into the silk screens and taking what was called a (inaudible) and pushing the paint through the design and then lifting the screen up and moving it down these very long tables. And it was really remarkable that my father made a success of that small business just by stint of hard work, persistence, commitment, and a belief that he could.

Well, here with us today are people who would recognize that story. Masooma Habibi, who was born in an Afghan refugee camp, worked as a carpet weaver as a young girl, and now, at the age of 23, runs her own electrical engineering company in Kabul and has more than 20 employees. Ibrahim Qureshi, who – yes, let’s give her a round of applause. (Applause.)

Ibrahim Qureshi, who founded Pakistan’s first domestic computer brand; and Rehema Jaldesa, who runs a construction and telecommunications company in Kenya, literally helping to build her country’s future; Daler Jumaev, who directs the only private power company in Tajikistan. It used to provide just 12 hours of electricity a day, but thanks to his leadership, homes there now have power nearly around the clock.

As these and so many other stories represented by all of you show, entrepreneurs create jobs, deliver services, help new industries get off the ground, raise the standard of living of direct employees, and then all who are touched by them. But the realm of the entrepreneur exists beyond business. Entrepreneurs are tackling problems of poverty and inequity, like Shaheen Mistri, whose nonprofit provides after-school tutoring to children in slums in India. They’re closing gaps in healthcare delivery and access to capital, like Amjid Ali, a banker who leads health and finance outreach programs for South Asian immigrants in England. They’re expanding access to communication technologies, helping people connect to each other and the larger world, like Papa Yusupha Njie, who trains young people in Web design and computer repair at his cyber cafe in The Gambia.

Now, these accomplishments should be possible anywhere and everywhere. Human imagination is, after all, universal. Yet too often, people cannot follow where their imagination leads them because innovation is simply too difficult or too risky. As a result, good ideas have nowhere to go.

So in light of these challenges, President Obama proposed this summit not only to celebrate your work, but to find ways to sustain, strengthen, and expand it. We knew that more dreams could come true if you could be put in touch with each other, and I’ve been delighted to hear about your discussions during the summit – the challenges you’ve addressed, the stories you’ve shared, the opportunities you’ve begun to explore together. And I hope these conversations will continue throughout the week at the events that our partners have planned for you in Washington.

Because engaging through entrepreneurship can benefit every country represented here, including, I might add, the United States, by forging closer ties through increased trade, new educational exchanges, new partnerships in science and technology, greater cooperation on global challenges like hunger, poverty, or climate change. Relations between nations are sustained by the connections between their peoples. And so we are all stronger for your time together here.

And I hope each of you will return home full of new ideas and a renewed sense of both purpose and possibility. But as you know, an entrepreneur’s life is not always easy, especially in the early days of a new enterprise when success is far from certain and partners may be hard to find. But every one of you is now part of this global community, with access to a network of information, advice, and support. And I hope you will help expand this community and turn the conversations you’ve had here into collaborations that endure.

And as you do that, I hope you’ll remember that the fullest measure of your impact will not only be in dollars or dinars or rupees or rupiahs, but in the lives you change and the progress you inspire and the better futures you help to create. Because you have the power not only to drive economic growth, but to promote shared prosperity, call for open and accountable governance, help expand access to services like healthcare and education. These are the pillars of stable, thriving societies. And you are the people with the talent and opportunity to help build them.

And you can count on the United States to be your partner, because this summit reflects the new approach to foreign policy that President Obama described last year at Cairo University, one that we have been putting into practice through partnerships based on shared values, mutual respect, and mutual responsibility. These partnerships are not only with governments, but they are with citizens like all of you who can help us generate local, regional, and global progress. So far, we have developed initiatives that will build on the work of this summit and support entrepreneurs worldwide in the months and years ahead.

And here are some of the outcomes of this summit, as to what the United States intends to do. First, we are launching the Global Entrepreneurship Program. That’s an initiative that will provide concrete support to new entrepreneurs, starting in Muslim-majority communities and eventually expanding to others worldwide. Through this program, we will work with the United States private sector partners and local businesses, along with civil society groups, to help create successful entrepreneurial environments. We will help sponsor business plan competitions to identify and support promising ideas. We will work to expand access to capital so entrepreneurs with a sound business concept will have access to credit to enable them to put their ideas to work. We will facilitate partnerships between business schools in the United States and educational institutions worldwide to share knowledge and help strengthen business education. We will support mentoring programs so someone starting out can benefit from the experience of someone who’s been down that road before.

I’m pleased to announce the launch of the Global Entrepreneurship Program’s first pilot program, in Egypt, coordinated by a team of Entrepreneurs in Residence from USAID. We will soon launch our second program in Indonesia, and we plan to expand to a dozen countries within the next two years. (Applause.)

Second, we have established partnerships with two Silicon Valley-based organizations: the Global Technology and Innovation Partners, and the Innovators Fund. Both were started by U.S. venture capitalists and business leaders inspired by President Obama’s call at Cairo to support innovation and entrepreneurship in Muslim majority communities worldwide. Both partnerships will launch in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Malaysia, and will then expand from there. (Applause.)

These new efforts will help increase access to seed funding, venture capital, and Silicon Valley’s technology and business expertise. The State Department will help facilitate this effort by connecting these funds with local partners and institutions. Now, our partnerships are inclusive. We seek to work with a wide range of private sector groups that are looking to support entrepreneurs worldwide.

We will also be working to implement an exciting partnership that I launched this morning. Together with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, I announced a collaboration between the State Department and a new group called Partners for a New Beginning. This is a team of eminent Americans from across sectors and industries who will lead an effort to engage the U.S. private sector in carrying out our vision for a new beginning with Muslims in communities globally.

For example, they might reach out to companies to provide equipment and technology for the Scientific Centers of Excellence overseas, or help launch internships and mentoring programs for emerging business leaders, or encourage angel investors in this country to partner with angel investors abroad. Through collaborations like these, Partners for a New Beginning will deepen ties between our people and institutions, and give more Americans the chance to contribute to this common endeavor.

Partners for a New Beginning will be chaired by Secretary Albright. Its vice chairs will be Walter Isaacson, the president of the Aspen Institute, and Muhtar Kent, the chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola Company. And I want to thank them for their commitment and I really hope that this effort will inspire similar efforts from private sector leaders around the world.

Fourth, I’m pleased to announce the launch of a new effort to expand access to mentors for aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs. We’re calling it the e-Mentor Corps. Mentors provide invaluable support and advice, but for too many entrepreneurs, good mentors are hard to find. You may be doing something that nobody else you know has ever attempted before. Through the e-Mentor Corps, an entrepreneur seeking a mentor can go online and find a person with the expertise they need on everything from securing financing to writing a business plan.

Several private sector groups have pledged to supply mentors from their global networks, including Intel, Ernst & Young, the Kauffman Foundation, Endeavor, TechWadi, the Young Presidents’ Organization, and Babson College. The State Department has worked with several existing groups to create and develop online portals for the e-Mentor Corps. And in the days ahead, we will post links to those sites on the State Department homepage. We will also email you and other partners with the details of how to sign up. And we hope that in the future, each of you can become a mentor as well. The success of this program depends on its participants, and I urge you to join and to encourage others to do the same.

Now, these initiatives comprise a first wave of programs to promote global entrepreneurship. But they reflect the Obama Administration’s commitment to a new approach to development, one based on investment, not aid; on supporting local leadership and ideas rather than imposing our own. We believe that this approach is more likely to yield lasting results in the form of greater security, dignity, prosperity, and opportunity for more people worldwide. And we call on other governments to help facilitate this progress.

Now, in particular, we know that there are many obstacles to your doing business in many of the countries represented here. We need to encourage your governments to make the legal and commercial reforms needed to encourage trade, allow for the free flow of ideas, lower the barriers to launching new businesses. (Applause.)

These reforms are critical to creating an environment in which entrepreneurs can flourish. I have emphasized all of these issues in my conversations with leaders around the world and will continue to do so. And for those countries willing to take the necessary steps, the United States will be a partner in creating environments that foster new businesses and foster an investment climate that will attract capital from everywhere.

So we know there’s a lot of work to do, and we’re counting on you to help us. For if one thing unites all entrepreneurs, it is a belief in the possible, a belief that your world and the larger world can be made better, that new ideas can solve old problems, problems that are centuries old, and that one person’s hard work can lift many lives. Now, you know these things are true because you prove them every single day.

I think one of the clear lessons that we have learned from working with so many people around the world over the course of so many years is that the old story about whether you give a person a fish or you help a person to learn to fish is so universally true. And what we want to do is unleash the talent and creativity that exists across the world, in every community. I’m often amazed at how resourceful people are in the poorest of the poor families and neighborhoods and communities. People solve problems that nobody’s helping them solve. And I often think about the young people that I’ve worked with over the years who were denied opportunities for education, who didn’t come from stable families, who were told time and time again that they couldn’t do something or they weren’t worth anything, but somehow found the strength inside to discard what the outside world told them and to believe in themselves. It really takes that level of belief to overcome the obstacles that we see preventing progress, stifling creativity.

So I urge you to continue to innovate, experiment, and lead; to use your resources and the power of your example to bring more people into this exciting activity that will improve lives, raise incomes, expand the horizons of so many who otherwise would not have a chance. I am absolutely convinced that building a strong economic foundation, creating a middle class, is essential to building good governance, rule of law, sustainable development, and so much more.

So we may come from different places. We may have different histories, different cultures. But we believe in the power of the individual, or you would not be here. We believe that a person with a good idea, willing to work hard, can really make a difference.

So I thank you for what you’ve already accomplished, and I look forward to hearing about all of your achievements in the years ahead. The United States is very proud to support you as you make your way, as you decide your future.

And I finally would just ask that you think about other opportunities that could be provided through this partnership that we are creating for a new beginning. You are the experts in where you live, where you work, where you are building your futures. So please don’t be hesitant about letting us know what is working and what’s not working, because we believe in taking hard looks at the facts and evidence. And if something’s not working, we want to change direction and get on a path that is more likely to succeed. We need your feedback, we need your honest and constructive criticism, we invite it. We more than invite it; we welcome it.

So thank you for being part of this exciting adventure that we have launched today with this summit. I’m so pleased that you all were willing to travel here and maybe take a little bit of a chance on what you were going to find at the other end, to try to figure out what was this really all about and where was it leading, if anywhere. But now it’s up to both of us. We can put on the conference and provide the space, but it’s really up to each of you to determine whether this venture can really be a success. But having read a lot of the bios and a lot of the information about the participants, I think it’s a pretty safe bet. So we’re going to work with you. And thank you for believing in a better future for everyone. (Applause.)

Read more:

Friday, April 30, 2010


Scotland articles include Independent (June 010)

The Gcal Centre Newsletter -subscribe here sample contents are footnoted in this post

Links at official Yunus Webs GSB YC

This Centre has a Social Business Professor Cam Donaldson (as far as we know 2nd only in creation to that at HEC Paris). The Chair's foci are healthcare and wellbeing

When Dr Yunus first spoke at Glasgow Caledonian Fall 2008 he explained what Adam Smith actualy said and why the frameworks that Adam Smith designed (eg free mearkets) were communally integrated to sustain the world -ie on the side of the microeconomist. So every time a global market implodes (eg wall street's) , compare how macroeconomics let markets get manipulate - an opposite system to the transparency of design and hi-trust flows that adam actually wrote up. The vice chancellor greeted Dr Yunus talk with - we woll do everything we can to find out what laws need to be changed before Glasgow can sustain a microcredit geeared round those in the city who are now in families that have been unemployed for 3 generations. Magnus Magnusson;'s daughter , a BBC Scotland radio host, presented Yunus with an award ruefully noticing how Iceland had just become one of the biggast victims of wall street subprime scams just like Scotland had lost its independence in a banking fraud circa 1700! One of the world's most successful entrepreneurs stood up and said - dr yunus the least we can do to honor you is to ensure we action anything we pledge.

GCAL Newsletter sample

What is the Grameen Caledonian Programme?

Grameen Caledonian Creative Lab

As an information resource on micro credit and co-ordination point in Scotland, the Caledonian Creative Lab will assist social entrepreneurs to develop new social businesses and provide information on Grameen, micro credit and related activities. Read More

Yunus Centre for Research in Social Business and Health

Led by the world's first Yunus Professor in Social Business and Health, GCU will be the home to a programme of research that will assess the impact of the Grameen Bank model in Scotland among other things. Read more about Professor Cam Donaldson's appointment to the new Yunus Chair at GCU and his plans for the new Yunus Centre. Read More

Grameen Scotland

We believe that Scotland has much to gain from the establishment of a Scottish branch of the hugely successful Grameen Bank, which works to help lift the poorest in society out of poverty through micro loans to initiate small businesses. Read More

Grameen Caledonian College of Nursing

GCU and the Grameen Trust are working closely in the creation of a new College of Nursing in Dhaka. GCU has long experience of assisting countries from Kosovo to Tajikistan to build high quality health education infrastructure. The need within Bangladesh to increase the number of well qualified nursing and midwifery professionals is significant. Read More

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Those considering internship at Grameen in Dhaka my find it useful to say hi to mostofa zaman at ; he has helped us with 4 vistis including summer 2008 when we made 10000 dvds of interviews with leading entrepreneurs of Grameen and summer 2009 when we hosted dr yunus 69th birthday dialogue

official yunus and grammen webs include:

our notes on experiences in and networks connecting through dhaka "en route to every sustinability capital" are at

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Hubs are one of the great intercity entrepreneur spaces of 2010s - which are also Yunus SB connecting cities?


London is the origin of The-Hub - roughly on the first birthday in 2005 about 40 of us met to pledge one sustainability crisis each to resolve by 2012 and to share all our networks collaboratively around -we hope to pool our interactions with the coming yunusolympics

The Bay Area sees 2 relatively new hubs; timely since technology partnerships are dr yunus number 1 global hunt for 2010s; also America's first yer long student host of n SB club strts work in are this summer fre grduting in economics from Swarthmore PA

The Mumbai hub is hime spce of one of the greatest gandhian network meeting hosts Ganesh Devy who discussed Global Reconcilation Network with DR Yunus for first time during Yunus' march visit to Mumbai; also opening soon a Bangalore branch - Yunus wants Dhaka nd to do with mobiles what bangalore did to internet

Joburg is where Africa hubs links are being planted by the redoutable lesley williams

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Dec 09 2009
Social Business - A Step Toward Creating a New Economic and Social Order

Professor Muhammad Yunus
Grameen Bank, Bangladesh

Lecture delivered at the joint-meeting of the members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha of India, in Delhi on December 9, 2009

Hon'ble Vice President, Hon'ble Prime Minister of India, Hon'ble Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Hon'ble Members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is a great honor and privilege for me to deliver the second Annual Memorial Parliamentary Lecture in honor of the formidable academician and parliamentarian, Professor Hirendranath Mukerjee. I am very proud to pay my respects to an individual whose commitment to social justice spanned over 60 years, until his death in 2004.

Hiren Babu’s commitment to the plight of the oppressed and exploited during his entire life has inspired many. His gift of oratory has captivated and enlightened individuals across the political spectrum. Indeed, Hiren Babu's faith in the ability of his fellow human beings to help themselves reflects my own beliefs about the innate ability of all people, including the poor, to change their own lives for the better.

Professor Hirendranath Mukerjee has been one of the 20th century’s best examples of the intellectual prowess in South Asia. If our human resources are nurtured and simply given a chance to grow, I am certain we can all change our economic and social situations dramatically. 

So I pay tribute to the memory of this great son of the region who dedicated himself to improving life for the people at the bottom of society.

Professor Mukerjee tried to address the poverty issue politically. I first got involved in it as an academician, and then personally, almost by accident. I got involved with poverty because it was all around me. The famine of 1974 pushed me out of the university campus. In disaster situations, most of us take up our social roles unhesitatingly. But in my case what began in a time of crisis became a life-long calling. I gave up my academic position and founded a bank - a bank for the poor.

Enslaved by the Money Lenders
In 1974, I found it extremely difficult to teach elegant theories of economics in the classroom while a terrible famine was raging outside. Suddenly I felt the emptiness of economic theories in the face of crushing hunger and poverty. I realized that I had to leave the campus and somehow make myself useful to the distressed people of Jobra, the neighboring village. 

In trying to discover what I could do to help, I learned many things about Jobra, about the poor people, and about their helplessness. I came face to face with the struggle of poor people to find the tiniest amounts of money needed to support their efforts to eke out a living. I was shocked to meet a woman who had borrowed just five taka from a money-lender and trader. The condition of the loan: She would have to sell all her products to him at a price he would decide. A five-taka loan transformed her into a virtual slave.

To understand the scope of this money-lending practice in the village, I made a list of the people who had borrowed from the money-lenders. When my list was complete, it had 42 names. These people had borrowed a total of Tk. 856 from the money-lenders. To free these 42 people from the clutches of the money lenders, I gave them the money to repay the loans. The excitement that was created in the village by this small action touched me deeply. I thought, “If this little action makes so many people so happy, why shouldn't I do more of this?”

That's what I have been trying to do ever since.

Grameen Bank Lends Even to Beggars
The first thing I did was to try to persuade the bank located in the university campus to lend money to the poor. But the bank manager refused to do that. He said, “The poor do not qualify to take loans from the bank - they are not creditworthy.” I argued with him about this for several months, but I couldn’t change his mind. So I offered to become a guarantor for loans to the poor. The bank agreed to accept this proposal. By the middle of 1976, I started giving out loans to the village poor, taking personal responsibility for their repayment. I came up with some ideas for making it easier for the poor people to repay the money they had borrowed. These ideas worked. People paid back the loans on time, every time. 

It seemed to me that lending money to the poor was not as difficult as it was imagined. But I kept confronting difficulties in trying to expand the programme through the existing banks. Finally, I decided to create a separate bank for the poor. Finally I succeeded in creating this bank in 1983. We called it Grameen Bank.

Today, Grameen Bank is a nationwide bank serving the poor in every single village of Bangladesh. It has 8 million borrowers, 97 per cent of whom are women. The bank is owned by the borrowers. Nine of the thirteen members of the board of directors are elected by the borrowers as shareholders. Grameen Bank lends out over $ 100 million a month in collateral-free loans averaging about $ 200. It encourages children of Grameen families to go to school. It offers education loans to them to pursue higher education. There are more than 42,000 students who are currently pursuing their education in medical schools, engineering schools, and universities financed by education loans from Grameen Bank. We encourage these young people to take a pledge that they will never enter job market to seek jobs from anybody. They'll be job-givers, not job seekers. We explain to them that their mothers own a big bank, Grameen Bank. It has plenty of money to finance any enterprise they wish to float—so why waste time looking for a job working for someone else? Instead, be an employer, rather than an employee.

Grameen Bank is financially self-reliant. All of its funds come from deposits. More than half of the deposits come from the borrowers themselves, who are required to save a little bit every week. They have a collective savings balance of over half a billion US dollars. The repayment rate on loans is very high, about 98 per cent, despite the fact that Grameen Bank focuses on the poorest people—those that other banks consider non-creditworthy. 
Grameen Bank even gives loans to beggars. They use the loans to start the business of selling goods from door to door, rather than begging door to door. Beggars like it. We now have over 100,000 beggars in this programme. During the four years since this programme was launched, over 18,000 have quit begging.

This idea of small, collateral-free loans for poor women, known as "microcredit", or "microfinance", has spread around the world. There are now Grameen-type programmes in almost every country in the world. We even run a programme named "Grameen America" in New York City. It is now branching out to Omaha, Nebraska, and San Francisco, California. Even in the richest country in the world with the most sophisticated banking system, there is a need for a bank dedicated to serving the poor.

Poverty is Not Created by the Poor
When I meet Grameen Bank borrowers, I often meet mother-daughter and mother-son pairs in which the mother is totally illiterate, while the daughter or son is a medical doctor or an engineer. A thought always flashes through my mind: the mother could have been a doctor or an engineer too. She has the same capability as her daughter or son. The only reason she could not unleash her potential is that the society never gave her the chance. She could not even go to school to learn the alphabet.

The more time you spend among poor people, the more you become convinced that poverty is not created by poor people. It is created by the system we have built, the institutions we have designed, the concepts we have formulated. Poverty is an artificial, external imposition on a person. And since it is external, it can be removed.

Poverty is created by deficiencies in the institutions that we have built. For example, financial institutions. They refuse to provide financial services to nearly two-thirds of the world’s population. For generations, they claimed that it could not be done, and everybody accepted that explanation. This allowed loan sharks to thrive all over the world. Grameen Bank questioned this assumption and demonstrated that lending money to the poorest in a sustainable way is possible.

During the current financial crisis, the falsity of the old assumption became even more visible. While big conventional banks with all their collateral were collapsing, microcredit programmes, which do not depend on collateral, continued to be as strong as ever. Will this demonstration make the mainstream financial institutions change their minds ? Will they finally open their doors to the poor? 

I am quite serious about this question. When a crisis is at its deepest, it can offer a huge opportunity. When things fall apart, that creates the opportunity to redesign, recast, and rebuild. We should not miss this opportunity to redesign our financial institutions. Let’s convert them into inclusive institutions. Nobody should be refused access to financial services. Because these services are so vital for self-realization of people, I strongly feel that credit should be given the status of a human right.

Poverty Belongs in Museums
Every human being is born into this world fully equipped not only to take care of himself or herself, but also to contribute to the well being of the world as a whole. Some get the chance to explore their potential, but many others never get the chance to unwrap the wonderful gifts they were born with. They die with those gifts unexplored, and the world remains deprived of their contribution.

Grameen has given me an unshakeable faith in the creativity of human beings and the firm belief that human beings are not born to suffer the misery of hunger and poverty. 
We can create a poverty-free world if we collectively believe in it—a world in which the only place you would be able to see poverty is in poverty museums. Some day, school children will be taken to visit these poverty museums. They will be horrified to see the misery and indignity that some human beings had to go through. They will blame their ancestors for tolerating this inhuman condition for so long. 

To me, poor people are like bonsai trees. When you plant the best seed from the tallest tree in a tiny flower-pot, you get a replica of the tallest tree, only inches tall. There is nothing wrong with the seed you planted, only the soil-base that you gave it is inadequate. Poor people are bonsai people. There is nothing wrong with their seeds, but society never gave them the proper base to grow on. All it takes to get poor people out of poverty is for us to create an enabling environment for them. Once the poor can unleash their energy and creativity, poverty will disappear very quickly. 

A Fundamental Conceptual Flaw
Let me return to the current financial crisis. Unfortunately, the media coverage gives the impression that, once we fix this crisis, all our troubles will be over. We forget that the financial crisis is only one of several crises that are threatening humankind. We are also suffering a global food crisis, an energy crisis, an environmental crisis, a health care crisis, and the continuing social and econonomic crisis of poverty. These crises are as important as the financial crisis, although they have not received as much attention.

Furthermore, the media coverage may give the impression that these are disconnected crises that are taking place simultaneously, just by accident. That's not true at all. In fact, these crises grow from the same root—a fundamental flaw in our theoretical construct of capitalism.

The biggest flaw in our existing theory of capitalism lies in its misrepresentation of human nature. In the present interpretation of capitalism, human beings engaged in business are protrayed as one-dimensional beings whose only mission is to maximize profit. This is a much distorted picture of a human being. Human beings are not money-making robots. The essential fact about human beings is that they are multi-dimensional beings. Their happiness comes from many sources, not just from making money.

Yet economic theory has built the whole theory of business on the assumption that human beings do nothing in their economic lives other than pursue their selfish interests. The theory concludes that the optimal result for society will occur when each invididual's search for selfish benefit is given free rein. This interpretation of human beings denies any role to other aspects of life - political, social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, etc.

No doubt human beings are selfish beings, but they are selfless beings too. Yet this selfless dimension of human beings has no role in economics. This distorted view of human nature is the fatal flaw that makes our economic thinking incomplete and inaccurate. Over time, it has helped to create the multiple crises we face today.

Once we recognize this flaw in our theoretical structure, the solution is obvious. We can easily replace the one-dimensional person in economic theory with a multi-dimensional person - a person who has both selfish and selfless interests at the same time.

Immediately our picture of the business world changes. We now see the need for two kinds of businesses, one for personal gain (profit maximization), another dedicated to helping others. In one kind of business, the objective is to maximize economic gains for the owners, even if this leaves nothing for others, while in the other kind of business, everything is for the benefit of others and nothing is for the owners—except the pleasure of serving humanity.

Let us call this second kind of business, built on the selfless part of human nature, as “social business”. This is what our economic theory has been lacking.

Social Business – A Non-Loss, Non-Dividend Company
A social business is a business where an investor aims to help others without taking any financial gain himself. At the same time, the social business generates enough income to cover its own costs. Any surplus is invested in expansion of the business or for increased benefits to society. The social business is a non-loss, non-dividend company dedicated entirely to achieving a social goal. 

Will anybody in the real world be interested in creating businesses with selfless objectives? Where would the money for social business come from? 

Judging by the real human beings I know, many people will be delighted to create businesses for selfless purposes. Some have already been created. I’ll give briefs on some of them a little later.

Regarding the source of fund, one source can easily be the philanthropy money going for creating social businesses. This makes enormous sense. One problem of charity programmes is that they remain perpetually dependent on donations. They cannot stand on their own two feet. Charity money goes out to do good things, but that money never comes back. It is a one-way route. But if a charity programme can be converted into a social business that supports itself, it becomes a powerful undertaking. Now the money invested is recycled endlessly. A charity taka has one life, but a social business taka has endless life. That's the power of social business. 

Besides philanthropists, many other people will invest in social businesses just to share the joy of making a difference in other people's lives. People will give not only money but also their creativity, networking skills, technological prowess, life experience, and other resources to create social businesses that can change the world. 

Once our economic theory adjusts to the multidimensional reality of human nature, students will learn in their schools and colleges that there are two kinds of businesses  traditional money-making businesses and social businesses. As they grow up, they'll think about what kind of company they will invest in and what kind of company they will work for. And many young people who dream of a better world will think about what kind of social business they would like to create. Young people, when they are still in schools, may start designing social businesses, and even launch social businesses individually or collectively to express their creative talents in changing the world. 

Grameen-Danone and Other Social Businesses
Like any good idea, the concept of social business needs practical demonstration. So I have started creating social businesses in Bangladesh.

Some of them are created in partnership with large multi-national companies. The first such joint-venture with a multi-national company was created in 2005, in partnership with the French dairy company Danone. The Grameen-Danone social business is aimed at reducing malnutrition among the children of Bangladesh. The Grameen-Danone company produces a delicious yogurt for children and sells it at a price affordable to the poor. This yogurt is fortified with all the micro-nutrients which are missing in the children’s ordinary diet  vitamins, iron, zinc, iodine, etc. If a child eats two cups of yogurt a week over a period of eight to nine months, the child gets all the micro-nutrients he or she needs and becomes a healthy, playful child.

As a social business, Grameen-Danone follows the basic principle that it must be self-sustaining, and the owners must remain committed never to take any dividend beyond the return of the original amount they invested. The success of the company will be judged each year not by the amount of profit generated, but by the number of children getting out of malnutrition in that particular year.

Many other big companies are now approaching us to create social businesses jointly with us. They want to create joint ventures with Grameen because they want to make sure that it is done the right way. Once they become experienced in social business, they will take the concept wherever the need exists.

We have a joint-venture social business with Veolia, a large French water company. The Grameen-Veolia Water Company was created to bring safe drinking water in the villages of Bangladesh where arsenic contamination of water is a huge problem. Villagers are buying water from the company at an affordable price instead of drinking contaminated water.

BASF of Germany has signed a joint-venture agreement to produce chemically treated mosquito-nets in Bangladesh as a social business. The BASF-Grameen joint-venture company will produce and sell these mosquito-nets as cheaply as possible to make it affordable to the poorest. The company will have to be self-sustaining, but there is no intention of taking any profit out of the company beyond the amount invested.

Our joint-venture social business with Intel Corporation, Grameen-Intel, aims at using information and communication technology to help solve the problems of the rural poor—for example, by providing health care in the villages.

Our joint-venture with Adidas aims at producing shoes for the lowest income people at an affordable price. The goal of the Grameen-Adidas company is to make sure that no one, child or adult, goes without shoes. This is a health intervention to make sure that people in the rural areas, particularly children, do not have to suffer from parasitic diseases that can be transmitted through walking barefoot.

Grameen-Otto is planning to set up a garment factory as a social business in collaboration with Otto, a large chain store and mail-order company of Germany. Profit of the company will be used for the improvement of the quality of lives of the employees, their children, and the poor of the neighbourhood.

As these examples show, social business is not just a pleasant idea. It is a reality, one that is already beginning to make positive changes in people’s lives. 

Many more social businesses are on the way. One attractive area of social businesses will be in creating jobs in special locations or for particularly disadvantaged people. Since a social business company operates free from the pressure of earning profit for the owners, the scope of investment opportunities is much greater than with profit-maximizing companies. Profit-maximizing companies need to be assured of a certain minimum level of return on investment before they'll invest and create jobs. A social business does not need to fulfill such a condition. It can easily invest below that level and go down even to near- zero profit level, and, in the process open up opportunities for creating jobs for many people, which exciting area of social business is in afforestation. Forests are being denuded all around the world by individuals, greedy businesses and in some cases by government officials who are paid by the tax-payers to protect the forests. This is having a documented negative impact on climate change. Planting trees across huge tracts of land could be an excellent area for social business This opportunity, we cannot afford to ignore for saving our planet. 

Healthcare is another highly potential area for social business. Public delivery of healthcare in most cases is inefficient and often fails to reach the people who need it the most. Private healthcare caters to the needs of high-income people. The big empty space between the two can be filled by social businesses.

In Bangladesh, Grameen Healthcare company is trying to create social businesses to fill this gap in the healthcare system. We are trying to develop a prototype of health management centres in the villages to keep healthy people healthy by concentrating on prevention and offering diagnostic and health check-up services, health insurance services, etc. We are making efforts to take advantage of universal availability of mobile phones. We are in the process of working with leading manufacturers to design diagnostic equipment that can transmit images and data in real time to city-based health experts.

Grameen Healthcare is in the process of setting up of a series of Nursing Colleges as social business to train girls from Grameen Bank families as nurses. Bangladesh has an enormous shortage of nursing professionals. The global shortage of nurses is also quite enormous. There is no reason why vast number of young girls should be sitting around in the villages while these attractive job opportunities are going unfilled.

Grameen Healthcare is also planning to set up secondary and tertiary health facilities, all designed as social businesses. To train a new generation of doctors to staff our social business healthcare facilities, Grameen Healthcare plans to establish a University of Health Sciences and Technology.

Many other segments of health care are appropriate for building successful social businesses--nutrition, water, health insurance, health education and training, eye-care, mother and childcare, diagnostic services, etc. It will take time to develop the prototypes. But once creative minds come up with the design for a social business and a prototype is developed successfully, it can be replicated endlessly. 

Designing each small social business is like developing a seed. Once the seed is developed, anybody can plant it wherever it is needed. Since each unit is self-sustaining, funding does not become a constraint.

Putting Today’s Powerful Technology to Work
The world today is in possession of amazingly powerful technology. That technology is growing very fast, becoming more powerful every day. Almost all of this technology is owned and controlled by profit-making businesses. All they use this technology for is to make more money, because that is the mandate given to them by their shareholders. Imagine what we can achieve if we use of this same technology to solve the problems of the people! 

Technology is a kind of vehicle. One can drive it to any destination one wants. Since the present owners of technology want to travel to the peaks of profit-making, technology takes them there. If somebody else decides to use the existing technology to end poverty, it will take the owner in that direction. If another owner wants to use it to end diseases, technology will go there. The choice is ours. Present theoretical framework does not give this choice. Inclusion of social business creates this choice.

One more point to ponder – there will be no need to make an either/or choice. Using technology for one purpose doesn’t make it less effective for serving a different purpose. Actually, it is the other way around. The more diverse use we make of technology, the more powerful it gets. Using technology for solving social problems will not reduce its effectiveness for money-making use, but rather enhance it.

The owners of social businesses can direct the power of technology to solve our growing list of social and economic problems, and get quick results.

We May Create Social Stock Markets
Once the concept of social business becomes widely known, creative people will come forward with attractive designs for social businesses. Young people will develop business plans to address the most difficult social problems through social businesses. The good ideas will need to be funded. I am happy to say there are already initiatives in Europe and Japan to create Social Business Funds to provide equity and loan support to social businesses.

In time, more sources of funding will be needed. Each level of government—international, national, state, and city—can create Social Business Funds to encourage citizens and companies to create social businesses designed to address specific social problems (unemployment, health, sanitation, pollution, old age, drug, crime, disadvantaged groups the disabled, etc). Bilateral and multi-lateral donors can create Social Business Funds. Foundations can earmark a percentage of their funds to support social businesses. Businesses can use their social responsibility budgets to fund social businesses.

We'll soon need to create a separate stock market for social businesses to make it easy for small investors to invest in social businesses. Only social businesses will be listed in this Social Stock Market. Investors will know right from the beginning that they'll never receive any dividends when they invest in social stock market. Their motivation will be to enjoy the pride and pleasure of helping to solve difficult social problems. 

Social business gives everybody the opportunity to participate in creating the kind of world that we all want to see. Thanks to the concept of social business, citizens don't have to leave all problems in the hands of the government and then spend their lives criticizing the government for failing to solve them. Now citizens have a completely new space in which to mobilize their creativity and talent for solving the problem of our time. Seeing the effectiveness of social business governments may decide to create their own social businesses or partner with citizen-run social businesses, and/or incorporate the lessons from the social businesses to improve the effectiveness of their own programmes.

Governments will have an important role to play in the promotion of social business. They will need to pass legislation to give legal recognition to social business and create regulatory bodies to ensure that transparency, integrity, and honesty are ensured in the social business sector. They can also provide tax incentives for investing in social businesses as well as for social businesses themselves.

The Power of Dreams
The wonderful promise of social business makes it all the more important that we re-define and broaden our present economic framework. We need a new way of thinking about economics that is not prone to creating series of crises; instead, it should be capable of ending the crises once for all. Now is the time for bold and creative thinking—and we need to move fast, because the world is changing fast. The first piece of this new framework must be to accommodate social business as an integral part of the economic structure.

In this context let me raise another question.

What will the world be like twenty or fifty years from now? More specifically, what will South Asia be like? It’s fascinating to speculate about this. But I think an even more important question is: What do we want the world, and specifically South Asia, to be like twenty years or fifty years from today? 

The difference has great significance. In the first formulation, we see ourselves as passive viewers of unfolding events. In the second, we see ourselves as active creators of a desired outcome.

I think it is time to take charge of our future rather than accept it passively. We spend too much time and talent in predicting the future, and not enough on imagining the future that we would love to see. And even so, we don’t do a very good job of predicting the future. With all our wisdom, expertise, and experience, we repeatedly fail to imagine the amazing changes that history continues to throw our way.

Think back to the 1940s. Nobody then predicted that, within fifty years, Europe would become a borderless political entity with a single currency. Nobody predicted that the Berlin Wall would fall even a week before it happened. Nobody predicted that the Soviet Union would disintegrate and that so many independent countries would emerge out of it so fast. 
On the technology front, we see the same thing. In the sixties, no one predicted that a global network of computers called the Internet would soon be taking the world by storm. No one predicted that lap-tops, palm-tops, Blackberries, iPods, iPhones, and Kindles would be in the hands of millions. Even twenty years ago, no one was predicting that mobile phones would become an integral part of life in every village of the world.

Let's admit it, we could not predict the world of 2010 even from 1990 - a span of only 20 years. Does this give us any credibility in predicting the world of 2030 today, given the fact that each day the speed of change in the world is getting faster and faster?

If we have to make predictions, there are probably two ways to go about it. One would be to invite the best scientific, technical, and economic analysts in the world to make their smartest 20 year projections. Another would be to ask our most brilliant science fiction writers around the world to imagine the world of 2030. If you ask me who has the best chance of coming closer to the reality of 2030, without pausing for a second I'd say that the science-fiction writers will be far closer to the reality of 2030 than the expert analysts.

The reason is very simple. Experts are trained to make forecasts on the basis of the past and present, but events in the real world are driven by the dreams of people.

We can describe the world of 2030 by preparing a wish-list. This wish-list will describe the kind of world we would like to create by 2030. That's what we should prepare for.
Dreams are made out of impossibles. We cannot reach the impossibles by using the analytical minds which are trained to deal with hard information which is currently available. These minds are fitted with flashing red lights to warn us about obstacles that we may face. We’ll have to put our minds in a different mode when we think about our future. We’ll have to dare to make bold leaps to make the impossibles possible. As soon as one impossible becomes possible, it shakes up the structure and creates a domino effect, preparing the ground for making many other impossibles possible.

We'll have to believe in our wish-list if we hope to make it come true. We'll have to create appropriate concepts, institutions, technologies, and policies to achieve our goals. The more impossible the goals look, the more exciting the task becomes. 

Fortunately for us, we have entered into an age when dreams have the best chance to come true. We must organise the present to allow an easy entry to the future of our dreams. We must not let our past stand in the way.

Let’s dream that by 2030 we'll create a well-functioning South Asian Union. There will be no visas required, no customs officials limiting travel among the South Asian countries. There will be a common flag, along side our national flags, a common currency, and a large area of common domestic and international policies.

Let's dream that by 2030 we'll make South Asia the first poverty-free region of the world. Let’s prepare to challenge the world to find a poor person anywhere in South Asia.

Let’s dream that by 2030 South Asia will set up a reliable state-of-the-art healthcare system that will provide affordable care for all people.

Let's dream that by 2030 we'll create a robust financial system to provide easy access to financial services to every single person in South Asia. 

Let’s dream that by 2030 the first career choice for every child growing up in South Asia will not be to work for some company but to launch his or her own enterprise.

And let’s dream that by 2030 we'll have a range of creative and effective social businesses working throughout South Asia to solve all the remaining social problems.

Do all these dreams sound impossible? If they do, that means they are likely to come true if we believe in them and work for them. That’s what the history of the last fifty years teaches us.

So let’s agree to believe in these dreams, and dedicate ourselves to making these impossibles possible.