Business and Policy Leader Events

On Campus: Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus Shines a Spotlight on Social Business

"If we can create social businesses, we can end poverty in the world, and then we'll create poverty museums," explained 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus to an audience of 400 in Schimmel Auditorium on January 27. Hosted by Stern's Berkley Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Dr. Yunus delivered a talk on his latest book, Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism, which outlines his vision for a new business model that harnesses the power of free markets to create a more humane world, and tells the story of companies that are doing this work today. After the talk, Dr. Yunus stayed to sign books and answer questions from attendees.

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In his remarks, Dr. Yunus highlighted his accomplishments through Grameen Bank, a pioneer of microfinance and an economic movement that has helped lift millions of families around the world out of poverty. Moving beyond micro-lending, Dr. Yunus's vision for social business is reaching new heights, providing higher education, technology, solar energy and health care to many of the most impoverished villages in Bangladesh.

Dr. Yunus highlighted some business partnerships with food, water and banking companies that are emerging from his social business movement. Citing one joint venture with Dannon, he described a yogurt product that is being developed to help malnourished children. Dr. Yunus charged Dannon's experts to develop packaging for the yogurt that is both inexpensive and edible, "similar to ice cream in an ice cream cone," explained Dr. Yunus. Dannon's team of experts is currently working to develop this packaging and aims to have something ready in six months. In working with these companies, Yunus joked that executives often needed to be reminded to "take off their profit-maximizing glasses and to wear their social glasses."

Next up in the Berkley Center's Social Entrepreneurs Speaker Series is Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry's and his protégé, Julius Walls, CEO of Greyston Bakery, on April 22.

View the entire talk via Real Player