Social Business and Microeconomic Opportunities for Youth Conference: A Personal Reflection

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March 17, 2008

Bob Sample

The Social Business and Microeconomic Opportunities for Youth Conference was an amazing success. Some are calling it a life-changing event!
“This has been the best conference on microcredit I have been to in 18 years. It’s a truly historic conference that will be a great accelerator of the movement to end poverty!” - John Hatch, Founder of FINCA

I was privileged to be one of the organizers of this remarkable event - one of the “Friends of Microcredit”, an informal group of eight individuals representing organizations involved with microcredit in Colorado or elsewhere in the world. For about four months of breakdowns and breakthroughs, we produced a 2 1/2 day major national conference - the first in the world on Muhammad Yunus’ idea of Social Business as introduced in his landmark new book, Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism.

Over 500 people travelled from all over the U.S to attend the conference, and over 50 speakers contributed their wisdom, the Governor and First Lady of Colorado and the Mayor of Denver participated. We got some great press.

I am attaching the flyer from the conference, a brilliant paper by John Hatch, and a copy of last Friday's major article on the front page of the business section of the Denver Post.

At the conference, Muhammad Yunus brilliantly put forth the case for a new version of capitalism that recognizes the complexity of human motivation, not just monetary motivation. He is calling this new form "Social Business" - a non-gain, non-loss for-profit business where profits are recycled in the business and the primary purpose is to do good in the world.

John Hatch of FINCA provided brilliant and inspiring insights into the growing plight of millions of youth who are receiving elementary school educations as a result of their illiterate mothers' hard work and successful microbusinesses and then they cannot find work that moves them out of poverty. John suggest a variety of strategies for ending youth poverty, including job search officers, microcredit organization employment, loans for youth to start business, especially microfranchises, and internships for developed country youth to bring them face to face with poverty and to gain that "fire in the belly" that will motivate them to enter a life dedicated to ending poverty.

Alex Counts of Grameen Foundation shared his wisdom and insights throughout the conference, participating in panels and providing several keynotes and an inspiring wrap-up for the conference.

Chris Dunford of Freedom from Hunger attended the entire conference and shared his wisdom and wide experience on panels and in the audience.

Kyle Taylor of Youth Venture presented many stories about youth entrepreneurs around the world. Many other speakers shared the statistics and personal experiences with youth poverty in the U.S. and throughout the world. They shared their heartache and breakthroughs and learnings and courage.

Bob Sample, Colorado State Coordinator, RESULTS

Denver Post: Yunus discusses huge impact of tiny loans

Social Business and Microeconomic Opportunties Flyer

How Can the Rest of Us Help Create A World Without Poverty, John Hatch

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