Building Social Business


 “Building Social Business”, Muhammad YunusA new kind of capitalism has entered the 21st century. On June 28, 2010, the first Social Business Day has been celebrated in Dhaka, Bangladesh, under the auspices of the Yunus Centre and the broader Grameen family. In his third book, “Building Social Business”, Muhammad Yunus – CEO of the Grameen Bank and Nobel Peace Prize 2006 – provides for the various features of his new approach to business and development.

In a nutshell, a social business is a non-loss non-dividend company whose sole objective is to address a social problem. The book describes the rationale behind the concept of social business as well as its features and its legal and financial frameworks. Besides, one of its merits is to provide for either the theoretical aspects and the practical applications of the model, showing its potential and its limits at the same time.

Building Social Business turns out to be written in a simple prose which captures the attention and the imagination of the reader, who finds herself immersed in the stories of some the most advanced joint ventures, like Grameen Danone, Grameen Veolia, Grameen BASF, Grameen Adidas. And, of course, the Grameen Bank itself is run as a social business.

The book speaks about Italy as well. It does so directly twice: first, when it refers to the project, currently under negotiation, to open a branch of the bank in Milan under the name of Grameen Italia; and second, when it outlines the laudable work of Eugenio La Mesa and the Italian NGO Cure2Children in delivering healthcare services as a social business in Pakistan and Kosovo. It also refers to Italy indirectly, since the book provides for a briefing of the basic legislation on the so called social enterprises, which are considered as alternatives to the pure model of social business, in three countries – namely, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. In this respect, we find worthy to mention the Italian legislation on the topic, which consists of the legislative decree No. 155 of 24 March 2006 and its four related decrees of 24 January 2008.

Ultimately, Building Social Business is all about a tidal wave of positive thoughts which have been systematically converted into successful, practical measures. It also proves to be a valuable means to turn into reality the plea made by Nelson Mandela to “make poverty history”. Now it’s all in our hands.