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January 09, 2008

When he asked for a meeting with Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, Franck Riboud, CEO of Group Danone, a global corporate giant (whose American brand name is Dannon), didn't realize that his concept of doing business was about to change forever. A few hours and a hand shake transformed the hard driving, profit-motivated executive, into an unwavering advocate of 'social businesses'. Barely a year later, Riboud joined Professor Yunus in Bangladesh to launch Grameen Danone, with the mission of producing and selling specially-fortified yogurt to improve the health of poor Bangladeshi children.

In his new book, Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism, Professor Muhammad Yunus expands his vision with the pioneering idea of social businesses. These companies operate as businesses with a strictly social mission and reinvest their profits to further their mission rather than distributing dividends to shareholders.

To many, this sounds like the impossible dream. But, drawing on his own experiences launching the world's first purposely designed social businesses, Yunus shows how it can be done. From his collaboration with Danone to building eye care hospitals that will save thousands of poor people from blindness, Creating a World Without Poverty offers a glimpse of his vision for a world completely transformed by thousands of social businesses.

Comments

I applaud the Grameen Foundation's efforts to spread microfinance and now encourage the development of social business. Alex Counts and his staff have done a tremendous job

Dr. Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank and Nobel Peace Prize laurate has called for a new era of social business. While microcredit has helped over 100 million, there are still hundreds of million more people who have not been reached.

It was an inspiring event to meet Dr. Yunus and hear him speak at a recent DC speech and Creating a World Without Poverty book signing. He defines a social business as a self-sustaining business that is focused on improving society rather than maximizing profit. However, a social business should not lose money, but it should not pay dividends as improving society is the main goal.

These first two successes of Grameen Danone and the eye care hospitals are great examples for future social businesses. As an aspiring social business entrepreneur, I plan to be part of this new effort for creating a world without poverty.

-Kevin Gormley

I love the idea of social business. But, how does the idea of a social business differ from the idea of social enterprises, that FastCompany magazine highlights every year? Thanks!

Through the vision of Dr. Yunus and the selfless efforts of citizens of the world, social awareness is becoming a global happening. Now, if we can just eliminate the interference of the indulgent, elite class upon the poor and working classes and empower with knowledge the complacent attitudes of the population, we will move in a forward direction towards elimination of poverty in our world. Social entrepreneurs are the STARS OF HOPE for tomorrow. Social entrepreneurship shall expose people who focus their vision through a telescope instead of through a keyhole. 21st Century Giving is more than about money, it is about sacrifice and empathy, dedication and discipline. Foundation for United Nonprofit Distribution of America is a newly formed organization devoted to empowering Dr. Yunus' concept within America. His early commitment to the Middle Tennessee, USA region has led us to follow his lead. We thank you Dr. Yunus.

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