Over the past 40 years the Grameen family of social business companies committed themselves to promote and build the Culture of Peace by developing appropriate concepts, institutions, and strategies to achieve first the Millennium Development Goals, and now the Sustainable Development Goals.

In 2006, Grameen Bank made history when it received the Nobel Peace Prize together with its founder Professor Muhammad Yunus. Grameen Bank is the only commercial organization in the world, even a bank, to ever receive the Nobel Prize under any category. Their philosophy and achievements inspired a global movement to bring financial services to the doorstep of poor women everywhere in the world, both in poor and rich countries.

The concept

Social business is a cause-driven business. In a social business, the investors/owners can gradually recoup the money invested, but cannot take any dividend beyond that point.

Purpose of the investment is purely to achieve one or more social objectives through the operation of the company, no personal gain is desired by the investors. The company must cover all costs and make a profit, at the same time achieve the social objective, such as health care for the poor, housing for the poor, financial services for the poor, nutrition for malnourished children, providing safe drinking water, introducing renewable energy, etc. in a business way.

The impact of the business on people or the environment, rather than the amount of profit made in a given period measures the success of social business. Sustainability of the company indicates that it is running as a business. The objective of the company is to achieve social goals.

7 principles of social business

  1. Business objective will be to overcome poverty, or one or more problems (such as education, health, technology access, and environment) which threaten people and society; not profit maximization.
  2. Financial and economic sustainability
  3. Investors get back their investment amount only. No dividend is given beyond Investment money.
  4. When investment amount is paid back, company profit stays with the company for expansion and improvement.
  5. Gender-sensitive and environmentally conscious
  6. Workforce gets market wage with better working conditions.
  7. …Do it with joy!