By Muhammad Yunus
Although capitalism has brought prosperity to many parts of the world, far too many people have been excluded from its benefits and live a life of crushing poverty. But what can we do to make the world a better place? Well, a great first step is to build a social business.
A social business is one whose goal is to solve a social problem – to alleviate poverty or malnutrition, deliver sanitary water to rural villages, or provide some other service (affordable clothing, education, electricity, healthcare) that would otherwise be unavailable.
Essentially, a social business seeks to correct a market failure – through private, philanthropic enterprise rather than government intervention. Unlike a nonprofit organization, though, a social business should be self-sustaining, rather than reliant on donations.
In this book, Yunus provides genuine insight into global poverty and a unique perspective on the ways in which social businesses can coexist with traditional businesses to alleviate poverty and improve the lives of the world’s citizens.
Muhammad Yunus has spent a lifetime working to help the poor. He is a banker, economist, and civil society leader who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for founding the Grameen Bank and pioneering the concepts of microcredit and microfinance.
Decades before micro-lending was popular among development economists, Yunus began making small, interest-free loans to poor rural women in Bangladesh. He believed that what keeps the poor poorer isn’t a lack of skill or education or work ethic, but merely access to financial intermediation. Yunus makes his journey into the real world to face real problems and happily using his personal brand to strike tie-ups with leading multinationals to solve these problems.
In recent years Dr. Yunus has moved beyond just lending to the poor; his new goal is to eliminate poverty entirely, and his method is to spread the practice of social business, a self-sustaining, “zero-loss, zero-dividend” business model that applies not only to microfinance but to any good or service provided to the poor to ensure communities become self-sufficient.
Building Social Business includes is the step-by-step guideline for entrepreneurs to create their own social businesses, as well as its report on two more years of Grameen Bank’s joint venture social businesses.