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Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanity's Most Pressing Needs

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Muhammad Yunus, the practical visionary who pioneered microcredit and, with his Grameen Bank, won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, has developed a visionary new dimension for capitalism which he calls “social business.” By harnessing the energy of profit-making to the objective of fulfilling human needs, social business creates self-supporting, viable commercial enterprises tha Muhammad Yunus, the practical visionary who pioneered microcredit and, with his Grameen Bank, won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, has developed a visionary new dimension for capitalism which he calls “social business.” By harnessing the energy of profit-making to the objective of fulfilling human needs, social business creates self-supporting, viable commercial enterprises that generate economic growth even as they produce goods and services that make the world a better place.In this book, Yunus shows how social business has gone from being a theory to an inspiring practice, adopted by leading corporations, entrepreneurs, and social activists across Asia, South America, Europe and the US. He demonstrates how social business transforms lives; offers practical guidance for those who want to create social businesses of their own; explains how public and corporate policies must adapt to make room for the social business model; and shows why social business holds the potential to redeem the failed promise of free-market enterprise.


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Muhammad Yunus, the practical visionary who pioneered microcredit and, with his Grameen Bank, won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, has developed a visionary new dimension for capitalism which he calls “social business.” By harnessing the energy of profit-making to the objective of fulfilling human needs, social business creates self-supporting, viable commercial enterprises tha Muhammad Yunus, the practical visionary who pioneered microcredit and, with his Grameen Bank, won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, has developed a visionary new dimension for capitalism which he calls “social business.” By harnessing the energy of profit-making to the objective of fulfilling human needs, social business creates self-supporting, viable commercial enterprises that generate economic growth even as they produce goods and services that make the world a better place.In this book, Yunus shows how social business has gone from being a theory to an inspiring practice, adopted by leading corporations, entrepreneurs, and social activists across Asia, South America, Europe and the US. He demonstrates how social business transforms lives; offers practical guidance for those who want to create social businesses of their own; explains how public and corporate policies must adapt to make room for the social business model; and shows why social business holds the potential to redeem the failed promise of free-market enterprise.

30 review for Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanity's Most Pressing Needs

  1. 5 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    Is Yunus the only practicing (as in the type who never came across the proverbial armchair yet) nobel laureate in economics? (his field is, if not the nobel) His ideas and beliefs are rooted in and grown from the experience of running what sounds like hundreds of companies and offshoots and sister concerns - almost all successful, launching an entire industry and redefining one of the oldest businesses of the world. Yet, in spite of full awareness of the credentials of the author, everything insid Is Yunus the only practicing (as in the type who never came across the proverbial armchair yet) nobel laureate in economics? (his field is, if not the nobel) His ideas and beliefs are rooted in and grown from the experience of running what sounds like hundreds of companies and offshoots and sister concerns - almost all successful, launching an entire industry and redefining one of the oldest businesses of the world. Yet, in spite of full awareness of the credentials of the author, everything inside a reader militates against the seemingly utopian picture Yunus paints. You want to shout at him: all this is fine but REALITY is different! But the reader forgets - Yunus has seen and succeeded in the stark reality of one of the poorest, most torn landscapes in the world and he is proving that the ‘reality’ that economics teaches us is a very constrained reality. All the talk of incentives being the fuel of the human growth engine fall flat. But you don’t give in, you keep drilling deep holes in every cheerful statement of Yunus throughout the introductory chapters, after all you have years of economic training to back you up. Finally Yunus gets to the case studies, and you read on with growing astonishment that the very principles outlined earlier, the principles that you had in your economic wisdom so thoroughly cut into pieces, all seem to just work on the ground. You scratch your head and try to figure it out. Then you forget your criticism and congratulate yourself on your own positive outlook towards humanity. Until next time.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I was really excited when I found the audiobook of this title on the shelf at Half-Price Books. I had an 8 hour drive coming up, and now instead of spending the time scanning for radio stations, I could listen to a book by the awesomely awesome Muhammad Yunus. I was psyched. Unfortunately, the book turned out to be quite disappointing. I was expecting something a LOT more rigorous from an economist. (Edit: I almost said, "from a guy who won the Nobel Prize in Economics," but then I looked it up an I was really excited when I found the audiobook of this title on the shelf at Half-Price Books. I had an 8 hour drive coming up, and now instead of spending the time scanning for radio stations, I could listen to a book by the awesomely awesome Muhammad Yunus. I was psyched. Unfortunately, the book turned out to be quite disappointing. I was expecting something a LOT more rigorous from an economist. (Edit: I almost said, "from a guy who won the Nobel Prize in Economics," but then I looked it up and it turns out he actually won the Nobel PEACE Prize. Which makes a lot more sense now.) The book is just a lot of fluff. And not just fluff, but crazy utopian fluff that ignores even the most basic economics. Apparently, capitalism is great, but its one flaw is that it treats people as if they are single-mindedly greedy and ignores their compassionate tendencies. Wait, that's a flaw? I thought that was, you know, the entire underlying principle of capitalism. "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest" and all that. But so it is, according to Yunus. And he has the solution: reform capitalism to include compassionate motivations. This also makes no sense. Capitalism is a theory that seeks to explain the behavior of people and businesses...you can't "reform" the theory of capitalism any more than you can reform the theory of gravity. It either accurately predicts outcomes, or it doesn't. In any case, Yunus's main idea is to develop organizations that function just as profit-maximizing businesses, only they seek to address societal ills and invest all "profit" into further expanding the service. For example, he discusses an initiative between his Grameen Bank and Veolia Water which is working to sell clean drinking water to a Bangladeshi village in such a way that its revenues balance all its costs. Any surplus they make will first pay back the initial investment (with no interest or profit); then the rest will be used to begin cleaning the drinking water the next village over, and so on. It's an awesome idea, and one day I actually hope to work on something like that, but the book does nothing back up the theory. What entices people to invest in social business? Answer: the compassion motivation in people is just as strong as the money-making motivation, if only they had a way to express it. (Yeah, right.) What will allow people to invest in social business in the most effective way, without any price signals? Answer: traders on the floor of the social business stock market will make their best judgments, and the aggregate of their guesses will be an accurate representation of which social businesses are doing the most good. But it's forbidden to make money on a social business, so all of these traders are just spending their entire lives researching the social indicators of social businesses in every different imaginable field, analyzing numbers of people served with clean water to numbers of people served with proper nutrition and comparing them to determine which is more "valuable" just so they can make money to...invest in more social businesses. Oh, and we will live in a utopia where your social status will depend on how "effective" your social businesses are, and government welfare programs will no longer exist because nothing bad will ever happen to anyone. I am...baffled. And disappointed. There's an interesting middle part where he talks about the examples of social businesses he has started through Grameen, and those are worth reading to hear about the challenges they faced and overcame. I just wish there was more to back this up as a truly viable method of poverty reduction other than wishful thinking. I am sure the social businesses that do exist are awesome, and I'm sure people will start more, and in general, I am fully behind the concept. I just don't see it as the earth-shattering game-changer he wants it to be without a much more solid foundation.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn in FL

    It has been a number of years since I read this book. I have a business degree and worked in for large companies, including one multi-national. I have also had my own business. So, I have done my share of reading and keeping up with trends (until I became severely disabled). This book is a must for anyone who wants an understandable yet integral look at how business can work on a local level in Asia. So many of us are aware to some level about the American businesses that have shipped jobs to Asi It has been a number of years since I read this book. I have a business degree and worked in for large companies, including one multi-national. I have also had my own business. So, I have done my share of reading and keeping up with trends (until I became severely disabled). This book is a must for anyone who wants an understandable yet integral look at how business can work on a local level in Asia. So many of us are aware to some level about the American businesses that have shipped jobs to Asia. However, many people choose not to leave their communities to work in factories or they don't even have the resources to travel for a job in another city even 50 miles away (something that most individuals never consider). Muhammed Yunus understands that and other constraints on the average person that must find a means to provide for their family. To use a oft quoted wisdom, if the mountain doesn't come to Muhammed, Muhammed goes to the mountain. For many people across the world including Asia, they simply need some guidance and a little cash to get them into a more secure place in the economic system. This clever and compassionate man started Gameen Bank. He started giving women very small loans (we are talking $50 some more and some even less with very small interest payable over a long term), thus allowing the borrowers to reinvest in the business and provide for their family then he has also required them to attend classes on basic business principals and attend weekly meetings with other borrowers so that they can learn from each other! He has given these women all the tools to be successful. It is been such a success that he has taken it to other places including NYC. Mr. Yunus is changing the world. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. I also had the opportunity to see a documentary that was done in the borough of NYC (Bronx?) where he was establishing the same system for women. While Mr. Yunus has been the face of this project, he has not exclusively pursued this avenue. He has however made a difference in many people's lives and that in itself is laudable. While I have provided a simple overview based on having read it so long ago, it impressed me greatly. I remember reading it and as some point shedding a few tears as a result. Here is a link to NPR's look at Microloans along with some who question their value.https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsand...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Niloy

    A manifesto with excellent potentials. It could change the world. I suspect it will.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nityakanuri

    What I really enjoy about this book is that the author both writes and DOES. So many authors pass judgment on or make claims about the best ways to live and work and conduct oneself; however, Yunus has a history of experiences to validate his thoughts and writing. What's better, those experiences allow him to lay out exactly how to get started. I went to this social entrepreneurship event the other day--Ubuntu Education Fund, Of Rags, and SCHEF all spoke about their various fights against povert What I really enjoy about this book is that the author both writes and DOES. So many authors pass judgment on or make claims about the best ways to live and work and conduct oneself; however, Yunus has a history of experiences to validate his thoughts and writing. What's better, those experiences allow him to lay out exactly how to get started. I went to this social entrepreneurship event the other day--Ubuntu Education Fund, Of Rags, and SCHEF all spoke about their various fights against poverty in the third world. They each discussed their different business models and sources of revenue, and shared their thoughts on the buzzword topic of "sustainability." What I took away from them is just that the hardest battle is to just keep going, disappointment after disappointment. Be like the Little Engine that Could. Moreover, if you have an idea, just do SOMETHING to get started. However small or large that initial effort may be, just crossing the hurdle of starting is significant. In this spirit of supporting organization that "do better" for the world, I actually bought this book on a site called Buyve.com. For every book I purchase on the site, a percentage of the profits gets added to college scholarship funds for local students. Since I live in Philly, my money gets directed to a local Philly high school students, which I think is pretty neat. They have all the books I need, are practically the same price as Amazon, and my money is supporting students in my community, instead of Amazon, which already has enough money if you ask me! Anyways, I'd recommend checking on Buyve.com and those 3 organizations--Ubuntu, Of Rags, and SCHEF--all 4 are doing amazing things in different spheres.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Wade Brooks

    Yunus is the master of the BHOG (Big Harry Audacious Goal) and I've got to say he's done a lot, from wining the Nobel Peace Prize for the development of microcredit to growing Grameen Bank - lending over 9 billion in credit to the poor since its inception. If this book was written by anyone besides Yunus I would have dismissed it as a pipe dream but he's making it happen. The long term goal: Eradicate poverty, all of it, forever.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Javier Boncompte G.

    Genius!! One of the best books I've read. I completely agree with his theoretical framework for Social Business

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tanmay Jadhav

    I’d definitely suggest this book. The idea obviously can have a lot of criticism. The first one being that the implementation can only happen within a rigid set of preset rules. But, you see, we need ideas like these that promote more ideas. Crazy ideas that are changing the world one person at a time and have the proof to back it up. We can’t just keep putting things down by saying that “it just won’t work in a capital economy”. But hey, it has worked! This man is not just another writer trying I’d definitely suggest this book. The idea obviously can have a lot of criticism. The first one being that the implementation can only happen within a rigid set of preset rules. But, you see, we need ideas like these that promote more ideas. Crazy ideas that are changing the world one person at a time and have the proof to back it up. We can’t just keep putting things down by saying that “it just won’t work in a capital economy”. But hey, it has worked! This man is not just another writer trying to make a YouTube video and sell you his self help books. This man has done it all and some more and is merely structuring his ideas and journey. I’m honestly hopeful that we can have a separate stock market for the social companies one day and maybe have my own as well. Since, when you aren’t functioning for dividends, it’s not too hard for you to have a social business as your side hustle.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mark Oppenlander

    After reading Banker to the Poor, I was looking forward to this book. Having learned about the origins of microfinance in the earlier volume, I felt that Muhammad Yunus had a lot of fertile ground on which to build his ideas and take them to the next level. This book, an exploration of the concept of "social business" with examples from Yunus' work with various Grameen industries, seemed to be just the ticket. Unfortunately, the book didn't live up to my expectations. My biggest frustration was t After reading Banker to the Poor, I was looking forward to this book. Having learned about the origins of microfinance in the earlier volume, I felt that Muhammad Yunus had a lot of fertile ground on which to build his ideas and take them to the next level. This book, an exploration of the concept of "social business" with examples from Yunus' work with various Grameen industries, seemed to be just the ticket. Unfortunately, the book didn't live up to my expectations. My biggest frustration was that Yunus has a highly inflexible definition of social business. For him, a social business can only be called such if its owners refuse to take a dividend. In other words, the tax model of a social business has to be more like that of a non-profit, where any revenues in excess of expenses are driven back into the business. (Yunus also seems to be intent on trademarking the term "social business" but that's another issue altogether.) With this narrow definition, any blended value model is automatically off the table. So what we call social enterprises or B-corps in the US, cannot be included as social businesses. Yunus repeatedly says that these other models are fine as far as they go, but it is obvious that he privileges the social business as the gold standard for making a difference in the world. Everything else is second rate. He believes that the profit motive - even a restricted one - can never be compatible with doing good in the world. I disagree with this assessment. That being said, the book itself tells a number of fascinating stories, using Grameen business partnerships as examples of social businesses. The case studies are interesting, as they demonstrate the need for any business (social or otherwise) to grow, change, and adapt. I found these stories compelling and I appreciated Yunus' transparency about mistakes he and the other Grameen leaders made. I'll note one other limitation here: Yunus seems overly fond of the cross-subsidization model of social enterprise. In a class taught at my University on Social Enterprise, the instructor describes six or seven models for delivering social value or blended value, and cross-subsidization is just one of them. Yunus' fixation on particular models may be a product of his environment or experience - we all tend to gravitate toward those solutions we've seen work. But in a book for a broad audience, this emphasis seems like a weakness. Yunus is an engaging writer and a decent narrator. This book is a quick and easy read that is both informative and mildly entertaining. However, it did not offer the rigor of thought I had anticipated or for which I had hoped. I'd probably give it 2.5 stars if Goodreads allowed half stars.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sondra

    The entire concept of this book is so interesting, but the presentation at times just felt boring and difficult to get through. Yunus is at his best when he is describing why social business and how the businesses he's created are helping to eradicate poverty in Bangladesh. Where I struggled is when he's telling how 'easy' it is to create these businesses. During those sections I felt he could of expanded a bit more on to how EXACTLY financially he made these ideas into reality. For instance his The entire concept of this book is so interesting, but the presentation at times just felt boring and difficult to get through. Yunus is at his best when he is describing why social business and how the businesses he's created are helping to eradicate poverty in Bangladesh. Where I struggled is when he's telling how 'easy' it is to create these businesses. During those sections I felt he could of expanded a bit more on to how EXACTLY financially he made these ideas into reality. For instance his discussion about partnering with Veolia Water was fascinating because he clearly describes the problem they were trying to solve, how they went about it, what they learned and how they are continuing to strive to solve these world issues. At other times, for me, he's a bit too simplistic and idealistic. But overall the book has some revolutionary concepts on for profit businesses and how to revolutionize capitalism to end World Poverty. One can dream, and I guess that is what Yunus does successfully. I'm interested in checking out his other book "Banker to the Poor."

  11. 4 out of 5

    James Scott

    "Thought provoking" is the best descriptor I could use for this book. Yunus develops a clear and passionate thesis for his world changing idea of social businesses, laying out example after example of how social businesses he has either founded or worked with have accomplished their missions and creatively overcome various obstacles in a way that traditional businesses could not. He glosses over a high altitude view of how to plan and launch your own social business, and takes an evangelical sty "Thought provoking" is the best descriptor I could use for this book. Yunus develops a clear and passionate thesis for his world changing idea of social businesses, laying out example after example of how social businesses he has either founded or worked with have accomplished their missions and creatively overcome various obstacles in a way that traditional businesses could not. He glosses over a high altitude view of how to plan and launch your own social business, and takes an evangelical style alter call tone instigate business owners into his hopes for a world changing movement. I found several open questions in this work by Muhammad Yunus that bear thinking through, and it would make an excellent reading choice for a book club discussion, especially one with a business minded bent. Unfortunately, Yunus also gives little attention to the critiques that I feel are both the most obvious and the most critical for his overall message. The first being systematic obstacles for creating a social business as he defines with, with no clear place for it within the tax codes of most countries and little to no incentives for investors vs other more financially rewarding investment opportunities. The second critique being his overly rosy view of the human nature, believing that most or even a significant portion of business owners would be willing to commit themselves to a business model that prioritizes benefitting society and other people over any sense of personal financial gain or developing long term wealth. It has been my experience that most business owners and entrepreneurs are far more craven and selfish than Yunus seems to think. Perhaps I've had bad luck with who I've met, but I'm more inclined to think Yunus is giving them too much credit.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Cho

    So inspiring! Very thought-provoking stories about how social business can fit within a capitalist framework. Some parts were very much geared towards actual social business entrepreneurs (financial, legal restrictions), but the stories are unforgettable. Never knew the revolutionary idea of microcredit / micro financing came from a mere lending of $27 to a village. The stories of how big corporations such as Danone, Pfizer & Adidas really serve as real life applications of a social business mod So inspiring! Very thought-provoking stories about how social business can fit within a capitalist framework. Some parts were very much geared towards actual social business entrepreneurs (financial, legal restrictions), but the stories are unforgettable. Never knew the revolutionary idea of microcredit / micro financing came from a mere lending of $27 to a village. The stories of how big corporations such as Danone, Pfizer & Adidas really serve as real life applications of a social business model that can work! Awesome and easy read!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Hiko Murs

    Very powerful! Very influential!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lino Matteo

    Deals with some of the most pressing issues facing society today: how do we serve the people in a way that is affordable for the people. Social business can remove government from much of its ineffective middle man role. My notes: Building Social Business Muhammad Yunus Copyright 2010, paperback 2011 Xi: They’ll be job givers, not job seekers. Xii: Poverty is not created by poor people. It is created the systems we have built, the institutions we have designed, and the concepts we have formulated… Xiii Deals with some of the most pressing issues facing society today: how do we serve the people in a way that is affordable for the people. Social business can remove government from much of its ineffective middle man role. My notes: Building Social Business Muhammad Yunus Copyright 2010, paperback 2011 Xi: They’ll be job givers, not job seekers. Xii: Poverty is not created by poor people. It is created the systems we have built, the institutions we have designed, and the concepts we have formulated… Xiii: That poverty is created not by poor people but by their circumstances tells us something else important – something about the potential of human beings themselves. When you plant the best seed from the tallest tree in a tiny flowerpot, you get a replica of the tallest tree, only inches tall. Xv: In the present interpretation of capitalism, human beings engaged in business are portrayed as one-dimensional being whose only mission is to maximize profit. No doubt humans are selfish beings, but they are selfless beings, too. Xvii: Because the company is dedicated entirely to the social cause, the whole idea of making personal profit is removed from the business. IN the USA alone the annual revenues of non-profit organizations in one recent year amounted to over $1.1 trillion! Xxi: But the investment decision made by a social business is not based on the potential profit. It is based on the social cause. If that cause happens to be creating employment, it will go ahead if it is satisfied that the business can sustain itself. Xxiv: The world of social business will benefit not only the poor but all of humanity. Chapter 1: Why Social Business Page 1: A social business is outside the profit-seeking world. Its goal is to solve a social problem by using business methods, including the creation and sale of products or services. Seven principles of social business 1. The business objective is to overcome poverty, or one or more problems (such as education, health, technology access and environment) that threaten people and society – not to maximize profit. 2. The company will attain financial and economic sustainability 3. Investors get back only their investment amount. No dividend is given beyond the return of the original investment. 4. When investment amount is paid back, profits stays with the company for expansion and improvement. 5. The company will be environmentally conscious 6. The workforce gets market wages with better-than-standard working conditions. 7. Do it with joy. 5: Excellent use of foundation monies to establish social businesses with the organization’s sphere of interest. 7: Let’s try to use our creativity to unlock the hidden potential that almost everyone has been given by God. 9: Corporate Social Responsibility has no real relation to social business 10: The Sun Shines for All – solar electricity to rural Brazilians… 12: Some people ask, why exclude the idea of combining the power of the profit principle with the goal of social benefit – or “doing well by doing good,” as it is sometimes phrased? New type of business… 22: Social business offers an option to investors 26: Earn a social MBA degree 28: Today’s world is not the same as the world in which our ancestors lived,. We don’t have plagues We don’t have slavery We don’t have monarchy We don’t have apartheid We have women voting, free markets flourishing in once closed societies, people around the world demoing human rights…. Change does happen and that change is shaped by us. EN: perhaps in the western world and parts elsewhere…but there is still a long way to go…. 29: Social business helps the governments share their burden of responsibilities for social change with the civil society. Chapter 2: Growing Pains: Lessons in Adaptation and Change from the Story of Grameen Danone 49: Lessons from Three Tumultuous Years A social business must be at least as well-managed as any profit-maximizing business EN: That means subject to growth or failure 50: Lessons learned Be flexible yet never lose sight of your central goal. Immerse yourself in the culture of the people you intend to serve Use help from allies wherever you may find them Take advantage of different opportunities in different markets Question your own assumptions If you are building a social business you should periodically look back at the assumptions you made – the alternatives you ruled out or the choices you felt you had to make – and consider whether they are still valid. Chapter 3: Launching a Social Business 57: Desire to make the world a better place 60: Make it a success…so you feel good about it… 67: After all, waste is a valuable commodity. It can be converted into electricity, fertilizer, biofuel for cooking and heating, gas for powering vehicles – there are many possibilities. 68: Building a social business around people Improving production and access to markets Providing employment Helping consumers Enabling entrepreneurship Providing stability 72: Applying technology to human needs Increasing access to infrastructure Adapting technology used by the wealthy to the needs of the poor Enhancing sustainability and the environment through technological solutions 74: Testing the model Creatively modifying an existing model 78: An alternative model: The social business owned by the poor EN: Mutual societies 79: working with partners Another social business An NGO or charity An investor A technology partner A production partner A human resource partner A distribution partner A monitoring partner 86: Attracting talent 88: planning your social business What product or service will I offer How will I produce this product or service Who are my customers How many are there How do they make their buying decisions How can I find out what price they are willing to pay for the product or service I will offer? What is my competition What methods of marketing, distribution, advertising, selling and promoting my product or service will I use? What are the initial capital expenses I must meet in order to launch the business? What are the monthly expenses I can expert (rent, payroll, employee benefits, utilities, supplies, transportations and so on)? How will my expenses change as my volume of business grows? What revenue from sales can I realistically expect during my first month in business? My first six months? My fist year? My first three years? Based on the figures presented above, when can I expect to reach the break-even point? Over what time period can I expect to repay the initial capital used to launch the business? Some additional questions include: What is my social objective: Whom do I expect to help with my social business? What social benefits do I intend to provide? How will the intended beneficiaries of my business participate in planning and shaping the business? How will the impact of my social business be measured? What social goals do I hope to achieve in my first six months? 1 year, 3 years… If my social business is successful, how can it be replicated or expanded? Are there additional social benefits that can be added to the package of offerings I will create? A journey of a thousand miles…. Chapter 4: To cure one child Unless we prepare step by step, ‘thinking big’ can be a recipe for disaster. Chapter 5: Legal and Financial Frameworks for Social Business Creating a business plan to attract investors Recruiting an Investor Network Various Legal structures for Social business For profit Non profit Emerging alternative structures Chapter 6: Grameen Veolia Water: A social R&D Project for Addressing the World Water Crisis Chapter 7: Creating a Global Infrastructure for Social Business Many of them have come to see social business as a valuable new tool for promoting global change in a sustainable, scalable way. Them= world of non-profits, NGOs, foundations, and charities Page 155: The Grameen Creative Labs 159: University centres for exploring and nurturing social business Social Investment Funds 168: The next step – a social stock market Chapter 8: Glimpses of Tomorrow More social businesses are on the way 174: Technology and social business 176: Digital solutions for the World’s Poor 179: Other health- related social business collaborations EN: other examples Chapter 9: The end of Poverty The time is here 204: A door to a New World A world without a single person living in poverty A world whose oceans, lakes, streams and atmosphere are free of pollution A world where no child goes to sleep hungry A world where no one dies a premature death from an avoidable illness A world where wars are a thing of the past A world where people can travel freely across borders A world where no one is illiterate and everyone has easy access to education though the application of new miracle technology A world where the riches of global culture are available to all

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ibrahim Fathy Zalat

    -:Book notes&take-aways:- -How Microlending Led to Social Business- Driven to act by the desperate Bangladesh famine of 1974, Chittagong University economics professor Muhammad Yunus went to the village of Jobra and found his calling. After giving villagers $27 to pay off loans to predatory lenders, Yunus hit upon the idea of lending to the poor as the foundation of a new kind of banking business. He started the bank himself, calling it “Grameen” after the Bengali word for “village.” Grameen now h -:Book notes&take-aways:- -How Microlending Led to Social Business- Driven to act by the desperate Bangladesh famine of 1974, Chittagong University economics professor Muhammad Yunus went to the village of Jobra and found his calling. After giving villagers $27 to pay off loans to predatory lenders, Yunus hit upon the idea of lending to the poor as the foundation of a new kind of banking business. He started the bank himself, calling it “Grameen” after the Bengali word for “village.” Grameen now has eight million customers, 97% of whom are women. Lending to women proved more effective at combating poverty than lending to men. Grameen’s success in Bangladesh sparked microfinance operations worldwide, including in the United States. - People are as motivated by the desire to help others as by personal greed. - The world’s economic system creates and perpetuates poverty by denying credit opportunities to the poor. - Targeted business practices can address seemingly intractable social problems. - The world needs new legal, commercial and academic structures that recognize “social business.” - Social business depends on abjuring personal gain and putting profits back into the enterprise. - When launching a social business, start small and stay flexible. - A social business must be sustainable in the free market. - The entrepreneurial spirit that fires traditional business is ideal for creating a social business. - Social businesses require the same types of planning as standard businesses. - “The rule of ‘strongest takes all’ must be replaced by rules that ensure that the poorest have a piece of the action.” - “Poverty is not created by poor people. It is created by the system we have built, the institutions we have designed and the concepts we have formulated.” - Social businesses adhere to seven principles: 1-The business seeks to improve society, not to make a profit; 2-the company is financially viable; 3-investors get only their original investment returned; 4-profits fund expansion; 5-the company is eco-friendly; 6-workers are paid market salaries in above-standard workplaces and the businesses share a spirit of positive good will, 7-as indicated by the motto: “Do it with joy!” - “Identify a need and match it with your capabilities and talents. Look at the world around you and ask what disturbs you. What do you really want to change?” - “Spend time with the people you hope to serve. Get to know their interests, needs, abilities and dreams.” - “Social business – like the art of medicine itself – is all about solving problems, helping people and making the world a better place.” - “Globalization must not become financial imperialism.” - Starting a social business requires preparation similar to that for a profit-making enterprise. Begin with a business plan. Ask questions besides the usual queries on market analysis, expenses and break-even point: Who am I helping? How do I measure that? Can I do more? - “It’s immoral to make a profit – and especially to pursue the usual business goal of maximum profit – from the poor. This is benefiting from the suffering of our fellow human beings.” - social business formats include the community interest company (CIC) in the UK, and the low-profit limited-liability company (L3C) and the B (for “beneficial”) corporation in the US. -

  16. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Williams

    Muhummad Yunus, author of 'Banker to the Poor', and founder and managing director of Grameen Bank, presents a compelling case for establishing social businesses that focus on overcoming poverty and other significant issues. He argues that capitalism should serve humanity’s pressing needs. Central to Yunus' beliefs is the position that poverty is not created by poor people. It is created by the system we have built, the institutions we have designed, and the concepts we have formulated. It is an a Muhummad Yunus, author of 'Banker to the Poor', and founder and managing director of Grameen Bank, presents a compelling case for establishing social businesses that focus on overcoming poverty and other significant issues. He argues that capitalism should serve humanity’s pressing needs. Central to Yunus' beliefs is the position that poverty is not created by poor people. It is created by the system we have built, the institutions we have designed, and the concepts we have formulated. It is an artificial, external imposition on a person. People in business are often portrayed by capitalism as being one-dimensional whose only mission is to maximize profits. In social business, the investor focuses on helping others without making financial gain. It is a business because it must be self-sustaining. Two kinds of social business: 1) Type 1 – Investors return all profits to the business 2) Type 2 – a profit-making business owned by poor people (2) Yunus presents seven core principles of social business for those who are interested in launching a social business: 1. The business objective is to overcome poverty & other social problems 2. The business will attain financial and economic sustainability 3. Investors get back their investment only 4. Profit stays with the business for expansion and improvement 5. The business will be environmentally conscious 6. The workforce gets market wage with better-than-standard working conditions 7. Do it with joy!!! Yunus provides examples of social business and strategic alliances formed with major corporations and some of the challenges they needed to overcome in order to be effective.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Laurelin

    Building Social Business was written by author Muhammad Yunus, whose personal story and legacy of achievements is truly impressive. However, is his success proof of the social business concept or a testament to what one uniquely talented individual can achieve? Until the empirical research is in, I don't think it's possible to make sweeping declarations about the efficacy of social business. As a Public Administration student, it's hard to read lines like, "Governments may find it easier and mor Building Social Business was written by author Muhammad Yunus, whose personal story and legacy of achievements is truly impressive. However, is his success proof of the social business concept or a testament to what one uniquely talented individual can achieve? Until the empirical research is in, I don't think it's possible to make sweeping declarations about the efficacy of social business. As a Public Administration student, it's hard to read lines like, "Governments may find it easier and more effective to give incentives to the rich to solve social problems through their own initiatives by undertaking many kinds of social businesses, rather than using tax revenues just to run safety net and other inefficient public service programs." Government contracting is fraught with issues because private sector accountability is notoriously difficult. I personally don't believe that income inequality can be solved without more equitable redistribution. And the social safety net exists for a reason - in part, to allow potential social entrepreneurs and many others to take risks that can better the world. In short, this was an interesting read. On the one hand, the success stories are heartwarming, inspiring, and truly impressive feats of business achievement. On the other hand, is social business more effective than any other type of enterprise (public or private) for solving humanity's many crises? Probably not. I think social businesses can be part of the solution - but they are not the end-all-be-all of saving the world.

  18. 4 out of 5

    L

    Random thoughts: There was quite a bit of overlap with his other books, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. His writing is clear, although slow at times. I'm intrigued of his concept of social businesses, which is very specific, and not broad like the term 'social enterprise'. Social businesses are no-loss, no-dividend companies. Yunus seems adamant on both terms - there should not be any grant support, and there cannot be any promise of returns, however small. And none of the current legal structure Random thoughts: There was quite a bit of overlap with his other books, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. His writing is clear, although slow at times. I'm intrigued of his concept of social businesses, which is very specific, and not broad like the term 'social enterprise'. Social businesses are no-loss, no-dividend companies. Yunus seems adamant on both terms - there should not be any grant support, and there cannot be any promise of returns, however small. And none of the current legal structures are good enough for him - not L3Cs, and not B-corps's idea of changing the terms of incorporation to allow a social purpose. It's also interesting the advice he offers: - start small, start now! Despite all his experience, he realizes there's no one way to do things - you must learn as you do within the specific context you're working with. Cross-subsidization was a common theme in many of the examples he brought up. He doesn't really address the potential vulnerabilities of this, though. It'd be interesting to get an update of some of the companies he mentions in 5 or 10 years though.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I learned of Muhammad Yunus, the author of Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs, while researching microfinance. Mr. Yunus is a pioneer in the microfinance industry. During the 1970s, he founded Grameen Bank, a microfinance institution in Bangladesh. I was fascinated by the work of Mr. Yunus and wanted to learn more so looked for additional reading material. Building Social Business looked intriguing and it was. The Bottom Line Readers don I learned of Muhammad Yunus, the author of Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs, while researching microfinance. Mr. Yunus is a pioneer in the microfinance industry. During the 1970s, he founded Grameen Bank, a microfinance institution in Bangladesh. I was fascinated by the work of Mr. Yunus and wanted to learn more so looked for additional reading material. Building Social Business looked intriguing and it was. The Bottom Line Readers don’t need a business degree to understand the concepts shared in Building Social Business. It provides a viable alternative, perhaps more of a companion, to profit driven businesses. I agree with the author, I believe people are both selfish and selfless. Perhaps it is time for some of us to give our selfless side more exercise. I would recommend Building Social Business to anyone interested in broadening their understanding of what business can achieve and an alternative way of measuring business success. Mr. Yunus has previously written, Banker To The Poor, and Creating a World Without Poverty, which both look like worthwhile reads. Read the whole review at www.greengroundswell.com

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    From the guy who brought you the microlending craze comes a fabulous discussion of the social benefit that capitalism is capable of producing. Yunus makes the case that we need to quickly develop a new tax structure that is more nuanced than simply placing establishment into one of two camps: for-profit or nonprofit. There is plenty of ground in between those two poles for an organization who would have profit as an aim but -- but! -- any profits generated from the business have to go back into From the guy who brought you the microlending craze comes a fabulous discussion of the social benefit that capitalism is capable of producing. Yunus makes the case that we need to quickly develop a new tax structure that is more nuanced than simply placing establishment into one of two camps: for-profit or nonprofit. There is plenty of ground in between those two poles for an organization who would have profit as an aim but -- but! -- any profits generated from the business have to go back into the organization to serve a greater number of people. If you happen to find yourself looking at starting a new business, take a few minutes to sit down with the book and explore some of Yunus's ideas. Fun stuff.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    The single most inspiring book I've ever read. Mr. Yunus has lifted and is still lifting hundreds of people out of poverty, and is the most deserving recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize I can think of. "Dreams are made out of impossibles. We cannot reach the impossibles by using the analytical minds trained to deal with hard information that is currently available. These minds are fitted with flashing red lights to warn us about obstacles we may face. We'll have to put our minds in a different mode The single most inspiring book I've ever read. Mr. Yunus has lifted and is still lifting hundreds of people out of poverty, and is the most deserving recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize I can think of. "Dreams are made out of impossibles. We cannot reach the impossibles by using the analytical minds trained to deal with hard information that is currently available. These minds are fitted with flashing red lights to warn us about obstacles we may face. We'll have to put our minds in a different mode when we think about our future. We'll have to dare to make bold leaps to make the impossible possible."

  22. 5 out of 5

    Patti

    Very impressive theory and cutting edge business model. The case studies show a lot of great examples of how this business works. I would be interested to read additional case studies of how a social business has not been successful as well as how this idea can be as effectively spread across communities in the developed world as it has been in the developing world. A positive message with practical advice for starting a business with the best end benefit I can imagine: making the lives of other Very impressive theory and cutting edge business model. The case studies show a lot of great examples of how this business works. I would be interested to read additional case studies of how a social business has not been successful as well as how this idea can be as effectively spread across communities in the developed world as it has been in the developing world. A positive message with practical advice for starting a business with the best end benefit I can imagine: making the lives of others better.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shantanu Roy

    Thought provoking concept of Social Business is presented here. This new pattern of business is emerging. I think this pioneering idea will attract many people who will step in this path.I feel ultimately social business will bring betterment for the society though it it is too early too comment.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Karin

    Excellent book. This should be a must read for every single business student and every single corporate executive. I also think it is valuable for people who work in not for profits and NGOs. Think different is a good perspective here.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kingshuk Mazumder

    Yunus shows how capitalism and welfare of the underserved can go hand in hand. The book sheds light on how social business is different from NGOs and charities. A must read for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to make this world a better place to live in.

  26. 4 out of 5

    BLACK CAT

    Differences and elements and examples that make a social business.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    I found the concept of social business presented in this book to be interesting, but I also found some flaws with the premise. While I think that within the system of capitalism social business provides interesting opportunities to improve the lives of the global poor, my concern is that it's still operating within the system of capitalism. One of the flawed assumption in this book is that capitalism is a broken, half-complete system that is not working the way it is meant to work, and that pove I found the concept of social business presented in this book to be interesting, but I also found some flaws with the premise. While I think that within the system of capitalism social business provides interesting opportunities to improve the lives of the global poor, my concern is that it's still operating within the system of capitalism. One of the flawed assumption in this book is that capitalism is a broken, half-complete system that is not working the way it is meant to work, and that poverty is a byproduct of that break in the system. The reality is capitalism works just fine and that the symptoms we see of poverty are merely just the byproducts of capitalism itself. They are not a break in the system, they are the system. The other thing that I found problematic about this book is that he challenges the notion of ever-growing profits, but that's the root of the problem with capitalism. The root of the problem is that capitalism demands ever-increasing growth and consumption. His idea of social business relies on continued growth in the economy and continued consumption. He also makes a really interesting claim that the pie isn't fixed in that the rich can continue to get richer while the poor get less poor. I find that highly problematic because not only does it require continued growth and increasing profits but it also advocates raising the living standard of the global poor without lowering the living standard of the global wealthy who exponentially consume and pollute more. This unbalanced pattern spells environmental disaster. Our finite global resources cannot keep up with such intensified extraction and consumption. He also relies on the idea of technology acting as a miracle, almost like a deus ex machina. The problem with that thinking is that technology is based again on that increased consumption and is heavily based on use of fossil fuels. It defeats the purpose of trying to do business in an ecologically sound way.  It seems that social business is merely a band-aid on capitalism, which isn't even cut and bleeding but alive and well and living as it  was intended to live its life. Why not reject capitalism and consumerism and profit and growth as given and embraced socialism? This paradigm shift would allow us to pursue new and creative means of making sure that people are provided what they need according to their needs by employing the creative genius and manual and emotional and intellectual labor of the whole community. Social business is just a slightly shinier version of the status quo.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kudakwashe Manjonjo

    As humans, we tend to forget that poverty is a human Creation. A back dated capitalist system, combined with financial imperialism has led to half the world being too poor to eat everyday, go to school or bring up healthy kids. Muhammed Yunus book is an apt reminder of how we can change our system and philosophies to have a new kind of economic structure. He propounds the idea of a "social business" which gives capitalism a human face by using the tool of capitalism to solve social problems. He giv As humans, we tend to forget that poverty is a human Creation. A back dated capitalist system, combined with financial imperialism has led to half the world being too poor to eat everyday, go to school or bring up healthy kids. Muhammed Yunus book is an apt reminder of how we can change our system and philosophies to have a new kind of economic structure. He propounds the idea of a "social business" which gives capitalism a human face by using the tool of capitalism to solve social problems. He gives ideas like a business which pays all profit to re investment. A business where shareholders invest because of the desire to solve problems and not to fatten their pockets. His ideas are huge breaks from what is the norm currently. The idea does have close cousins in terms of social entrepreneurs, efficient NGOs but his idea stand out still. The philosophy stiil has some gaps as to whether all society can be social businesses or social business is just an addition to other business systems around. That with time can be answered. What it has been able to do is allow me the privilege of knowing its ok to want to make money and yet solve serious social problems in our times. The two do not have to be mutually exclusive. Just alot of hard work. And i think it will allow other people who have high empathy to find a place in the world too.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Eliza Doll

    Yunus has changed the way that I look at the world of business. It has given me hope that modern capitalism as we see it today doesn’t have to remain focused on selfish desires to maximize personal gain. I was inspired to read this book by Leila Janah’s “Give Work” to learn more about how a Social Business works. She was inspired to start her social business Samasource after reading a book by Muhammad Yunus. A social business is similar to a traditional business into that is works towards being Yunus has changed the way that I look at the world of business. It has given me hope that modern capitalism as we see it today doesn’t have to remain focused on selfish desires to maximize personal gain. I was inspired to read this book by Leila Janah’s “Give Work” to learn more about how a Social Business works. She was inspired to start her social business Samasource after reading a book by Muhammad Yunus. A social business is similar to a traditional business into that is works towards being the most efficient it can be and works towards generating its own profit, but it is different from a traditional profit maximizing business in that the MAIN goal of a SB is to alleviate a social problem in a small or large community, and eventually become self-sustaining. This means that the company will be able to reinvest its eventual financial surplus (profit —after reaching its break even point) back into itself to expand. The goal is to use creative business methods to come up with a sustainable solution to a social problem. I couldn’t help but meticulously take notes throughout the book, as I wanted to know the inner working of an SB so that one day I can start my own. Yunus has validated my desire to start a business of my own (“Start small and soon”!!!) and has turned my dream of starting a traditional business into a dream of running a social business.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa Princessa

    We need more social businesses in this world. I read this book thanks to Blinkist. The key message in this book: Social businesses are a distinct type of company that make the world a more equitable place. These businesses place a social, economic or environmental goal at the core of their operations by letting go of the demand to turn a profit for investors. Actionable advice: Ask around to find a problem to solve: If you’re having a hard time deciding on an idea for your social business, just try b We need more social businesses in this world. I read this book thanks to Blinkist. The key message in this book: Social businesses are a distinct type of company that make the world a more equitable place. These businesses place a social, economic or environmental goal at the core of their operations by letting go of the demand to turn a profit for investors. Actionable advice: Ask around to find a problem to solve: If you’re having a hard time deciding on an idea for your social business, just try bouncing ideas off people. Keep asking yourself who you think needs help and remember that it could be anyone from the disabled to children or the elderly. Simply by talking with people about the problems they encounter, you’re sure to find something deserving of your attention. Suggested further reading: Clay Water Brick by Jessica Jackley Clay, Water, Brick explores the author’s unusual business career in connection with stories of successful micro-entrepreneurs all over the globe. These blinks reveal the strategies of entrepreneurs who make something out of nothing while making a difference in struggling communities.

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