What Is Social Business

Social Business, or Social Entrepreneurship, is gaining ground all over the world. Yesterday I had the privilege to discuss this with the Latvian chapter of the JCI. It seemed only right to share the presentation I used here. A transcript of the slides with not so much words follows below.

Social Business Explained

Meet Muhammad Yunus

As a economics professor, Mr Yunus grew more and more awkward about explaining elegant economic theories, while across the streets the poor people of Bangladesh were hungry. He found out that these people could not lend money from banks, and had to go to special lenders if they needed funds to eke out a living. These special lenders then claimed the right to buy all the lending person produced at a price decided by the lender. This, obviously, is another version of slavery. Mr Yunus decided to take over the loans for 42 people (worth a grand total of 27 USD) and by doing so, he discovered two things. With his approach to lending, he gave back dignity to the people in need, and he found out that he had a pay back rate of abour 99%. From this experience he built out Grameen bank, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Meet Jacqueline Novogratz
After quitting her Wall Street job and moving to Africa to change the world, Ms Novogratz had several eye-opening experiences. She lived in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, amongst others, and started, helped and supported local businesses. She learned, sometimes the hard way, that Western business techniques do not always work in Africa. And that people that are used to being supported by aid and charity have a hard time making a transition to taking control of their own lives. In these experiences, she discovered how best to support the local people in doing business, and invented Patient Capital. She founded the Acumen Fund and is now the world’s leading thinker on a new approach to aid: a hybrid form between philantropy and business principles.

Some Social Business Examples
Belu – revolutionizing bottled water, by sourcing locally as much as possible, and using easy to recycle bioplastics.

The Big Issue – changed the way Western Europeans regarded the homeless for ever. By publishing a weekly newspaper, and giving the homeless an opportunity to earn an honest living by becoming a newspaper seller, they restored self confidence and trust and broke the vicious circle many homeless were in. The idea spread like wildfire in the 1990′s in Western Europe, with papers popping up in all major cities.

Kiva – Micro lending: putting people from poor regions that need small loans together with people from richer regions that are willing to lend money.

Mano Guru – a salad bar in Vilnius, Lithuania. Not only do they serve fresh and healthy food and drinks (no alcohol is served), they are also rehabilitating former drug addicts, by giving them a job, a proper training with certification and a second chance in life.

Madara Cosmetics – Eco friendly cosmetics, locally sourced, all natural ingredients, respect for nature. And a brilliant recycling programme: every empty container gives you a cash back on your next purchase.

Lady Taxi – A taxi company employing only lady taxi drivers, to improve safety. Clean and child friendly (a child’s seat in every car).

This slide contains the TED talk by Derek Sivers: How To Start A Movement

For sources used in this presentation, and other interesting links, go to our Social Business bookmarks on delicious.com.

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