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Social business not for personal gains: Yunus

Staff Correspondent

Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus addresses the Social Business Forum 2012 at the North South University in Dhaka on Friday. — New Age photo Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus addresses the Social Business Forum 2012 at the North South University in Dhaka on Friday. — New Age photo

Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus said on Friday that social business was a mission that had nothing to do with personal gains rather it aimed to help address the problems of the society.
It is traditionally believed that the main aim of business is making money and maximising profits and such notion of business has led to a mess creating all the crises that the world is facing, including food, fuel, financial and environmental crises, he said at the opening ceremony of the Social Business Forum 2012.
North South University and Professional Society for Social Business jointly organised the daylong event on the NSU campus to mark Social Business Day 2012.
‘We need to have new structures and new textbooks that should say that there are two types of businesses – one is for money making and the other is social business to address the problems,’ said Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank who coined the term social business and defined it.
Yunus, who was removed from the Grameen Bank as managing director by the government in March 2011, said microfinance had now become a global phenomenon and he had introduced businesses to help solve specific socio-economic problems.
Yunus, who along with the Grameen Bank won Nobel peace prize in 2006, stressed the need for having ‘social fiction’ on what should be the shape of things in 2030 onwards.  ‘You have to have social fictions that visualise the destination of the society after 20 or 30 years when there would be no unemployment and poverty.’
He said human beings were not money-making machines. They have immense creative ability and they should use it for welfare of the society.
Commerce minister GM Quader at the programme said social business was getting international recognition as it could be an effective tool for achieving social development. He said a country like Bangladesh needed initiatives like social business.     
The theme for this year’s Social Business Forum was ‘Social business practices: evaluating impacts’.
Among others, NSU board of trustees chairperson MA Hashem, vice-chancellor Hafiz GA Siddiqi and Germany-based Grameen Creative Lab founder Hans Reitz, also spoke in the opening ceremony.
Speakers said that social business ‘is a non-dividend’ effort dedicated to solving social problems. Adopting this concept allows businesses to find sustainable solutions for social problems that are in desperate need of being addressed.
A good numbers of local and international guests attended the programme.
NASA astronaut Ronal Garan, who had carried a copy of Yunus’s book ‘Creating a World Without Poverty’ to the international space station, also spoke in the concluding ceremony.
The Daily Star editor, Mahfuz Anam, moderated a panel discussion on ‘Social business: a new path for corporate business’.

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