Professor Muhammad Yunus, the Pioneer of Modern Microfinance and Social Business

“how organisations gain value from social business”

4 April 2017

The AICC in partnership with Grameen Australia and Creativity Australia were delighted to host a special business lunch with Professor Muhammad Yunus, Microfinance and Social Business Pioneer, and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

“Every time I see a problem, I create a business.” Muhammad Yunus

In conversation with the Sydney Morning Herald’s Peter Hartcher, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Yunus discussed the positive disruptive effect of social businesses in leading the way to solving some of the world’s most devastating social, environmental, cultural and economic problems.

Yunus spoke of his vision of poverty becoming so unfamiliar that people would ask what it was. He warned that currently, growing inequality is a time-bomb; and that the current system has to be undone or frustration will grow. One of his possible solutions to this is microfinance as the ‘economic oxygen’ -to provide access and opportunity. According to Yunus – “You need a dollar in your hand to catch a dollar”.

Professor Muhammad Yunus is a Bangladeshi social entrepreneur, banker, economist and civil society leader. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for founding Grameen Bank and pioneering the concepts of microcredit and microfinance. He has also been an advocate of the innovative approach of social business, a model that combines the best business thinking and modern technology with a core focus on social outcomes, with Fortune magazine (2012) featuring him as one of ‘The 12 Greatest Entrepreneurs of Our Time’.

Professor Yunus has established social businesses partnerships with leading global corporations including Danone, Veolia Water, BASF and Credit Agricole that have generated profits to overcome devastating social issues. Social businesses with Clinton Global Foundation, Virgin Unite and others are also addressing major socio-economic problems in countries such as the United States, many European countries, India, Brazil, Tunisia, Haiti, Columbia and Uganda.

Peter Hartcher is the political editor and international editor of The Sydney Morning Herald. He is a Gold Walkley award winner, a former foreign correspondent in Tokyo and Washington, and a visiting fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy.