Fewer ‘Heropreneurs,’ More Heroic Women: Grameen Foundation’s New CEO Discusses Her Vision for the Organization – And the Broader Financial Inclusion Sector

Posted on 01/03/2023

Grameen Foundation President and CEO Zubaida Bai sets the record straight about what Grameen Foundation is--and who the real heroes are--in NextBillion.

My recent announcement that I had assumed the role of CEO at Grameen Foundation was often met with two reactions. They went something like this: “Wow, is Muhammed Yunus your hero, too?” and “Oh, Grameen Foundation — they do microfinance, right?”

These reactions highlighted some common misconceptions about Yunus, Grameen Foundation and anti-poverty work in general. So allow me to set the record straight. First, I am a big admirer of Muhammad Yunus’ philosophy of social business as a tool to end poverty. I do not, however, believe his motivation was to become a hero — and I think he would agree that the tendency to elevate business leaders to hero status is something the social business sector should avoid.

And second, though the work we do aligns with Yunus’ original inspiration for Grameen Bank, Grameen Foundation focuses on financial inclusion to achieve our mission: to empower people, especially women, to create a world without poverty and hunger. We are not a microfinance institution (MFI).

Exploring these misconceptions can highlight the actual vision behind the microfinance model and Grameen Foundation’s mission, revealing some important truths about social business and anti-poverty work more broadly.

Read the full article.

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