Thursday, 12 May 2011
Tuesday, 10 May 2011
Let's step back and breakdown this appealing "Holistic Social Business Movements" (HSBM) title so that we all start from the same page.
Social: concerning or belonging to the way of life and welfare of people in a community.
Business: an industrial, commercial, or professional operation; purchase and sale of goods and services.
The idea is to focus on a region and create the right environment in which social businesses can thrive while having the unique goal of eradicating poverty in a whole region through different aspects of social business (SB).
After some early experience and valuable knowledge, the Grameen Creative Lab (GCL) has established a logical progression which seems to be based on three steps. First step is the creation of a micro finance network served by the Grameen Bank. Second step is the development of social businesses with special focus on SMEs. Third step is the establishment of the HSBM creating impact on a whole region through social business.
In theory the challenge of creating a self-sustainable ecosystem that supports social development works flawlessly. On the one hand, considering professor Yunus's 7 principals, the capital initially invested for the birth of social businesses is payed back to investors and reinvested for the creation of other social businesses forming an ongoing cycle. On the other hand many ideas need to be generated so pilot testing can be done and social businesses can be reviewed and redesigned. This is precisely what the D4SB team is going to do by collaborating with GCL and going to Caldas (Colombia) from the 16th of May to the 4th of June 2011.
The way I see it is that SB networks have many players, therefore how will it be possible to evaluate something that is inside a such complex network? How to measure social impact and its evolution? And how to know if the chosen path is the correct one? These are some of the first questions which I'm guessing some might be answered with some practical experience.
So let's start designing and redesigning social business!
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.
It’s a new idea turning into a business that has 7 principles at the core:
- A social objective.
- Financial and economic sustainability.
- Investors get back only their original investment.
- Profit stays within the company for expansion.
- The company will be environmentally conscious.
- The workforce is better paid that standard conditions.
- It will always be done with joy.
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!