Social Business – Shifting from Selfish to Selfless

Mohammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, founder of Grameen bank and grandfather of microfinance, espouses a new way of thinking about business in his latest book “Building Social Business”.

He sees the world divided into the “me” business based on making money for myself, and a new type of business that focuses on providing profits to do good for others.

Here is Yunus’ definition of social business –

“I define social business as a non-loss, non-dividend company dedicated entirely to achieve a social goal. All profits, or “surplus revenue,” is plowed back into the venture for expansion and improvement. In social business, the investor gets his or her investment money back over time, but never receives dividend beyond that amount. Where would social businesses find their startup investments? An excellent, and probably most sensible, source would be philanthropy money that traditionally goes towards charities.”

Yunus provides many examples of social business such as the fortified yogurt business that he helped found in Bangladesh with global yogurt leader Dannon Yogurt.  The purpose of the business is to provide nutrient rich, affordable yogurt to help curb child malnutrition in Bangladesh.

Yunus argues that by harnessing the energy of profit-making to humanitarian needs, social business brings viable commercial enterprises to the world that can provide sustainable economic growth while meeting real world needs.

He challenges human beings to shift from their selfish side to their selfless side.

Here’s a short video with Yunus explaining his concept:

One Response to “Social Business – Shifting from Selfish to Selfless”

  1. Dan Wilt March 20, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    Muhammad’s ideas are worth celebrating, and perpetuating, in the 21st century youth culture.

    These young men and women begin with a clearer sense of social responsibility in regards to social ills such as hunger, malnutrition and injustice, than previous generations. They are by context globally and socially aware, and would be inspired by his words.

    Thanks for posting this.

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