Fri, Aug 17, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Nobel laureate promotes social business groups

Staff writer, with CNA

Nobel Peace laureate Muhammad Yunus suggested Taiwan should set up “social business centers” in universities to address social problems such as poverty.

Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank and the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, said he has been promoting the implementation of social business worldwide and urging people to get involved in enterprises with a public interest.

“Since I am here, I am hoping some universities would set up some kind of social business center, which some universities in other countries have done,” the 72-year-old Bangladeshi economist said at a forum in Taipei on Wednesday.

Yunus said he hoped that some Taiwanese companies would establish social business groups to take a proactive approach to social responsibility.

Yunus has been promoting the social business model because he says he believes it can enable even those with limited resources to build enterprises with global influence.

The concept of social business is business that has the potential to act as an agent for change in the world, Yunus said.

“Poverty is not distributed evenly around the world. Some countries that have enjoyed economic success over the past three decades have paid a heavy price,” he said.

“The economic growth has worsened social problems,” Yunus said. “Unfettered markets in their current form are not meant to solve social problems. Social business is the most logical thing to do.”

Known as the “Banker of the Poor,” Yunus is on a five-day Asian tour, with Taiwan being his last stop.

Yunus and Grameen Bank, a bank that he founded to promote the concept of microcredit, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for their efforts to further economic and social development at the grassroots level in Bangladesh.

By establishing Grameen Bank in 1983, Yunus sought to realize his vision of self-support for the poor by offering small loans to people who would otherwise not have access to credit.

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