Grameen Foundation Insights
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At Grameen Foundation, our goal is to spur innovation in the global movement to eliminate extreme poverty. Part of that work is to develop better solutions and share them with people like you.
On GF Insights, we share lessons learned from our leaders in the field, news about efforts to expand access to financial and information services for the poor, and how poverty-focused organizations are using data to improve the way they work.
By Jon Gillespie-Brown, Author “So you want to be an entrepreneur?”
In my opinion Social entrepreneurship is in fact a subset of a much more powerful global phenomenon called “Contribution”.
An example of this working in the real world is my book “So you want to be an entrepreneur?” – All the profits from the book go to the Grameen Foundation!
So why would I work for years on a book and then give all the profits away?
Contribution is why…
OK, so what does Contribution mean?…well my definition is: “Giving with no expectation of anything in return”.
So how can “contribution” lead to success and how can you join in – even if you aren’t yet an entrepreneur?
I know this seems like a long shot or a disconnect, surely success is all about being smart and hard working? Well that depends on what you believe, you still need to do those things but if you think about it whenever you were really helpful and thoughtful about others and helped or gave without looking for a reward - what were the results?
JPMorgan named Creating a World without Poverty to its annual summer reading list. A committee of JPMorgan advisors from around the world reviewed over 450 works of non-fiction to determine this year’s list. The final 10 books were selected based on the quality of the content, the timeliness of the appeal and the expertise of the authors. See the full list.
Grameen Shakti, a social business that aims to provide renewable energy to the rural poor of Bangladesh, was awarded the coveted Green Energy Prize from the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy. Dubbed the "Green Oscars," the awards recognize the leading renewable energy efforts in the world. The award further demonstrates the ability of social business to achieve best-in-class services while still focusing on a social-driven mission that benefits society at large.
The following is a summary of a report to the Board of Directors of Grameen Foundation regarding social business viability by Khalid Shams, Former Deputy Managing Director, Grameen Bank.
Grameen’s Social Business Initiatives
Grameen Bank has been experimenting with new social business ventures since the early ‘90s. It has effectively used the microfinance platform for launching several social enterprises. Some of these were ‘for-profit’, while others were ‘not-for-profit’ entities, but each had a distinct corporate mandate for social development. Grameen Bank itself would be an example of such a social business enterprise, which provided microfinance related services to the designated rural poor and the bank is also owned solely by the borrowers themselves. Some of the social enterprises were created in direct response to the demand of GB borrowers i.e. the Sixteen Decisions of the bank, as well as the rural poor, for essential services needed for development of health, education, nutrition, and alleviation of poverty.
Some of the enterprises were concerned with extension of new technologies that could directly raise the income and productivity of the poor trapped in such traditional sectors like agriculture, fisheries, rural industry. New ventures were also launched for development of information and communication based technologies.
More recently, Professor Yunus has taken the initiative of setting up “social businesses” that aim to provide nutrition and health services to a targeted client. In these new ventures, after the initial capital costs have been fully recouped, the investors agreed to take only nominal dividends, plowing back all profits for further expansion of the social business. Grameen-Danone Foods Ltd, and the newly formed Grameen Eye Hospitals are the latest examples of more rigorously designed social business models.