Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Building social business

Read by many, discussed by many more, took in consideration by some, denied by others, the social business concept designed by Muhammad Yunus has in my opinion at least one good starting point: it tried to change for the better the life of many poor people.

The book outlines the important contribution of ‘social businesses’ in solving social issues that couldn’t be overcome via traditional models, giving examples and case studies of big corporations that embraced the concept and tried to give some answers to several social challenges of nowadays. But it reaches also the entrepreneurial spirit of each of us animated with idealistic dreams of changing something within the fixed structure we live in, by initiating small social businesses where there is need and dedicate time and energy to a cause worth fighting for.

The concept of social business got structured in the eyes of prof. Muhammad Yunus by looking at the business world from a different perspective: not only a personal gain but also a help to others, built and developed on the selfless part of human nature. So, the social cause remains the main objective and the business frame gives the opportunity to extend the life of the initial investment, because social business is not a not-for-profit entity, it’s not a normal dividend company nor a simply provider of product and services adapted for poor areas.

It’s a new idea turning into a business that has 7 principles at the core:
  1. A social objective.
  2. Financial and economic sustainability.
  3. Investors get back only their original investment.
  4. Profit stays within the company for expansion.
  5. The company will be environmentally conscious.
  6. The workforce is better paid that standard conditions.
  7. It will always be done with joy.
Looks unreal? For some big names as Veolia Water, Adidas, BASF, Otto Gmbh, Danone, Intel Corporation became a reality, organizing social businesses around most pressing needs of poor people, most of them in Bangladesh.

All 9 chapters deal with how to launch a social business, legal and financial frameworks underpinning a social business, creating the infrastructure for successful growth within a social business, and some of the problems in establishing and scaling a social business.

I am still figuring out what it works and what should be changed in the model, but I think that we should stick to the best part of it: let’s believe and try to build a world we feel happy about!


  1. For a such complex and dense subject, I think you made us understand, thanks to your fantastic analytical capacity, with perfection Yunus's big picture!

    Like Prf. Yunus says, the important is getting started!

    Nice going Simona!! :-)

  2. Nice information.Good discussion comes out through this post.Thanks for sharing.

  3. Great information! I have been looking for something like this for a while now. Thanks!