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August 14, 2009

Yeardley Smith is the voice of television character Lisa Simpson, and an active Grameen Foundation supporter.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hello Delightfuls,

Pull up a chair, I have had a very fancy 43 hours!

I just got back from Washington, DC, where I attended a private reception co-hosted by my favorite Grameen Foundation, for Professor Muhammad Yunus, Mary Robinson, and Dr.  Pedro Jos Greer, all of whom received the Presidential Medal of Freedom yesterday.

You can imagine that when I said I was going to DC for the party, my friends had two questions for me: What are you going to wear? And do you get to attend the ceremony itself and meet President and Mrs. Obama?

Developing a Social Business Strategy

June 04, 2008

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.

New Social Business Paves Way for Clean Water

April 21, 2008

Professor Muhammad Yunus announced this week the launch of another social business, a joint venture between Grameen Bank and Veolia Water designed to bring drinking water to the poorest people of Bangladesh. Grameen-Veolia Water will supply clean water to more than 100,000 Bangladeshi and expand throughout Bangladesh.

Social Business and Microeconomic Opportunities for Youth Conference: A Social Entrepreneur’s Perspective (Pt 1)

March 24, 2008

The Social Business and Microeconomic Opportunities for Youth Conference inspired and motivated me. I learned from Muhammad Yunus and John Hatch as they described how microfinance has helped over 133 million households. Listening to stories about the over billion people who still live on $1 per day challenged me to join the fight against global poverty.

My favorite story was Yunus’s description of meeting with an illiterate woman (Grameen Bank borrower) proudly standing with her doctor daughter (Grameen Bank scholarship recipient). While he was thrilled to see the educational level go from illiteracy to medical school in one generation, he was saddened that the mother could have been a doctor too if she had the resources to attend school. Through microfinance and social business, we can use financial capital to help people improve their health and education resulting in expanded human capital.

Bob Sample’s posts did a great job highlighting several key speakers and panelists, so this article will cover the youth entrepreneurs, social entrepreneur panel and breakout sessions.

There was an impressive number of youth in the audience. When John Hatch asked audience members who were 30 or younger to stand, I was among the approximately 20% of the audience who stood. A reception allowed finalists for the Social Business Plan Competition to show their products to conference attendees.

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