On February 8th 2017, YSBFB held an exclusive meeting for select social entrepreneurs from Bengaluru, with Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus at their offices in JP Nagar. This was Prof. Yunus’ first visit to YSBFB since the launch of the fund in November 2016. Prof. Yunus was joined by YSBFB’s founders Vinatha M Reddy and Suresh K Krishna, who spoke about the objectives and action plan of the Bengaluru Fund.
The meeting offered a unique opportunity for social entrepreneursto interact with the “Father ofMicrocredit and Social Business”, and saw some truly inspired conversations. Prof. Yunus shared his reflections on social business, recounting impact stories of Grameen Bank. The audience listened in rapt attention.
The interaction brought about many questions from owners of social businesses – its inner workings, measure of success, the effect of ‘industrial’ mindsets. Prof. Yunus reiterated the critical importance of social businesses to address the society’s most complex issues.Prof. Yunus urged entrepreneurs to approach the idea of social business as a pure problem-solving pursuit, with selflessness rather than self-interest.
Senior professionals in the social development sector, who had followed Prof. Yunus through the years, reconnected and exchanged new perspectives. Prof. Yunus also spoke about the distressing role of the education system – in driving children to get good grades, in order to get a good job. He emphasized about the need to foster a change in mindset; to raise the next generation as job creators and change-makers rather than job seekers. The audience was passionate to rally Prof. Yunus’ cause for societal innovation and progress.
Suresh K Krishna presented the roadmap of YSBFB, drawing focus on the sectors of interest and bandwidth of investments. YSBFB is due to invest in social businesses across the sectors of agriculture, healthcare, education and housing. Funded social businesses will also receive post-investment assistance and mentoring from global partners of Yunus Social Business and the Grameen network.
“Each individual person is very important. Each person has tremendous potential. She or he alone can influence the lives of others within the communities, nations, within and beyond her or his own time” – Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus.
Sowmya Ravindranath, Content & Communications Consultant, YSB India