Monthly Archives

April 2013

Saskia Bruysten at Hong Kong Social Entrepreneuship Summit (SES) 2012

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From November 27 – 30, our co-founder & CEO Saskia Bruysten was the key note speaker at the Hong Kong Social Entreprise Summit 2012 attended by over 750 high-level participants from the worlds of business, NGO and government.

Next to the keynote speech she conducted a Social Business Lab, participated in a panel and took part in a women entrepreneur dinner with only a handful selected participants.

The topic of her keynote speech was “Social Business City – How a New Kind of Capitalism Serves Society’s Most Pressing Needs”. In her keynote speech, Saskia shared with the audience examples of existing joint venture partnerships between for-profit businesses and the Grameen family, including Grameen Danone, Grameen Veolia Water, BASF Grameen and Grameen Uniqlo, to name a few. Saskia highlighted the different ways by which the business sector in Hong Kong can engage in social business, and how Yunus Social Business can help.

Three Social Business Cities have already been established: Wiesbaden, Germany, Pistoia, Italy and Fukuoka, Japan. Becoming a Social Business City means to choose the tools offered by Social Business to address local issues and community needs. The major issues local governments have to face, such as youth employment, elderly assistance, environmental protection, can be managed with Social Business solutions. Saskia talked about the ways municipalities can contribute towards developing grassroot social entrepreneurs and the benefits Social Business can bring to a global city such as Hong Kong.

Saskia thanks the wonderful team of organizers and is much exited to see that the Social Business scene in Hong Kong is taking off so fast.

Saskia nominated as Young Leader of the German-American network Atlantik Brücke

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Saskia Bruysten, CEO and Co-founder of Yunus Social Business, was named Young Leader of the Atlantik Brücke.

The program for Young Leaders from both sides of the Atlantic is one of Atlantik-Brücke’s most successful projects. The German-American Young Leaders Conference offers participants the opportunity to intensively discuss current transatlantic topics during a week of plenary sessions and working groups. Leading public figures are invited to join the group as guest speakers.

Fore more information, please click here.

Saskia speaker at launch event of the Global Impact Insitute in London in July

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Saskia Bruysten, CEO and Co-founder of Yunus Social Business, spoke at the inaugural event of the Global Impact Insitute on July 26th, 2012 at the House of Commons, London.

The Global Impact Institute is a new program committed to build portfolios of high-impact initiatives to more effectively address global challenges through innovative partnerships. Howard Buffet serves as Chairman.

For more information, please click here.

Signing of MoU – YSB Haiti, Hope for Haiti and Dalio Foundation

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Yunus Social Business Haiti S.A. (“YSB Haiti”), Hope for Haiti (HFH) and Dalio Foundation, Inc. have signed a MOU to form a strategic partnership toward helping to establish in Haiti social business as “business as usual” in tackling poverty and social challenges such as inadequate access to quality education, nutrition, and healthcare for Haitian children and their families. YSB Haiti’s expertise in social business combined with HFH’s extensive inside knowledge into local Haitian communities, schools, and healthcare centers can help to facilitate the growth of sustainable businesses at a community level. Funds that are helping to make this partnership and project possible are provided by the Dalio Foundation, Inc.

The Partnership’s objective for each suitable business is to evolve the business model into a financially sustainable and social impact generating enterprise, a Social Business.

HFH and YSB Haiti expect to leverage their respective expertise and networks to support and build effective capacity over a 5-year strategic timeline.

YSB & AfDB launch HSBM in Africa during National Conference

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Prof. Muhammad Yunus delivered a message of hope to Tunisians at a national conference on social business in Tunisia on March 13. The conference, which took place at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (IHEC) in Carthage, was organized by Yunus Social Business (YSB) and the African Development Bank’s Human Development Department, in collaboration with Global Shapers and Orange.

“No one should be unemployed. Given the strength of human creativity, no problem can remain unresolved,” said Professor Yunus, reflecting on the high unemployment rate in Tunisia and emphasizing the power of human capital in Africa.

“We can create a world free of poverty, free of unemployment; we can create the world we want!” he said, stressing the need for young people to develop their creativity and entrepreneurial skills.

During the opening ceremony, YSB and the AfDB officially launched the Holistic Social Business Movement in Africa (HSBM) program, which includes pilot projects in Togo, Tunisia and Uganda. This program will be implemented in two phases: first, through awareness raising and capacity-building of stakeholders in Social Business; and second, with the implementation of social business incubator funds in Tunisia and Togo. The HSBM is a two-year program, implemented by YSB, funded by a grant from the Government of Japan and co-financed by the AfDB.

More than 500 participants from various stakeholder groups (government, development agencies, NGOs, representatives of large Tunisian and international companies and civil society) engaged in lively debates during the day-long conference and reflected on concrete social business ideas in Tunisia. Several projects with funding from the Bank’s pilot initiative for Tunisian entrepreneurs, Souk Attanmia (“market for development”), were present. The conference was broadcast around the world via a live webcast.

The manifestation of such a strong commitment from stakeholders forms the basis on which YSB and the AfDB plan to implement the HSBM program in Tunisia. The partners and stakeholders expressed optimism about the effort, which comes at a time when Tunisian unemployment is high.

“Inclusive development is at the heart of the priorities of the African Development Bank. The African continent is ready for the development of the social economy,” said African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka.

During his visit, Professor Yunus met with CEOs of large companies in Tunisia such as CONECT, Amen Bank, BIAT, Ben Jemaa Motors, Swicorp, Tuninvest and Tunisia’s national federation for textiles and clothing (FENATEX), amongst others. In addition, Professor Yunus delivered a special lecture to students and professors of IHEC before a packed auditorium of over 200 people. He ended his visit to Tunis with a private meeting with Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, who expressed his interest and enthusiasm for the initiative.

During the conference, Slim Khalbous, Director of the Graduate Institute of Business Studies, and Didier Charvet, CEO of Orange Tunisia, jointly launched a platform on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which aims to advance education and research in Tunisia.

Following this national conference in Tunisia, YSB and the AFDB will organize two national conferences this year in Togo on May 16 and in Uganda on June 20. The three countries were selected on the basis of an assessment of their youth unemployment rates. Should the pilot programs prove effective, YSB and the AfDB aim to expand the initiative to other African countries.

The first investments in Tunisia and Togo will be made between late 2013 and early 2014.

For questions and comments, please contact

YSB, Virgin Unite & Clinton Foundation Launch Haiti Forest Initiative!

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Ten thousand hectares of land being promised by Ministries of Agriculture and Environment to develop sustainable agro-forestry initiative. Project to Impact the environment, agriculture and improve livelihoods in rural areas of Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, March 10, 2013 – Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, founder of Yunus Social Business, Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Unite, and U.S. President Bill Clinton, founder of the Clinton Foundation, today announced the launch of a new social initiative called Haiti Forest. The partnership aims to solve social and environmental problems in Haiti by bringing sustainable, productive and socially responsible forests to the country.

Ten thousand hectares of land are being promised by the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment to develop the new, bold Haiti Forest Initiative in the Artibonite and northern part of the country. Haiti Forest has full support of the Government of Haiti and is in line with the priorities of the Government to support long-term reconstruction efforts, especially those that create jobs and promoting economic opportunities. The multi-year project will provide affordable food, timber, and employment in Haiti, and will be organized as a Social Business – a company set-up for maximizing social benefit rather than private profit.

“I am pleased that my Foundation is working with Yunus Social Business and Virgin Unite,” said President Bill Clinton. “Through this partnership, we hope to create a replicable model for programs that demonstrate long-term, positive social and environmental impact as well as economic benefits across Haiti.”

“Haiti Forest is an example how social business represents a unique opportunity to drive economic growth in Haiti,” said Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, founder of Yunus Social Business. “Social Businesses like Haiti Forest that are aimed at an environmental or social need represent not only the solutions to these pressing issues, but the financially sustainable means for continued development in Haiti.”

“Virgin Unite is very pleased to partner with the Yunus Social Business Initiative and the Clinton Foundation to invest in supporting entrepreneurial solutions to generate reforestation and sustainable livelihoods in Haiti,” said Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Unite. “This project will create much-needed economic opportunities for many and is wonderful way to do something good for our planet and the people of Haiti.”/p>

The new initiative’s four main objectives are: to re-forest Haiti; provide sustainable livelihoods to farmers; and over the long term help mitigate Haiti’s dependency on food imports; and help identify alternative fuel sources to reduce usage of charcoal. To ensure that the benefits of re-forestation are lasting and durable, Haiti Forest will empower micro-entrepreneurs and local communities to preserve and maintain their country’s forests.

Today also marks the beginning of a six-month planning and preparation study that will form the basis of the Haiti Forest pilot program. The study will work closely with Haitian rural communities and small holder farmers to determine what trees and crops should be planted, engage community leaders on the reforestation aspects of the project, and work with government to identify applicable land areas.

The Haiti Forest partnership was created out of a recognized need to address environmental degradation and Deforestation in a sustainable way. Haiti has lost virtually all of its forests over the last half-century, resulting in massive soil erosion and a consequent decline in the amount of arable land. By enabling sustainable forest management, Haiti Forest works toward providing a model to help reverse this trend.

About Yunus Social Business (Global Initiatives)

Co-founded by Peace Nobel Laureate Professor Yunus, Yunus Social Business (YSB) initiates and manages incubator funds for Social Businesses in several countries. While the incubators search, coach and select Social Businesses, the funds provide loans and equity after a thorough due diligence process. YSB also provides advisory services to corporates, NGOs, foundations and governments. YSB has a team of enthusiastic consulting, venture capital and development experts based in Germany, with subsidiaries in Haiti and Albania and is currently expanding into Brazil, Togo, Tunisia and Colombia.

For more information,

Contact: Sophie Eisenmann, co-founder and CFO, Yunus Social Business GmbH
Phone: +49 17 26 79 17 38

About Virgin Unite

Virgin Unite is the not for profit foundation of the Virgin Group, founded by Sir Richard Branson. It unites people and entrepreneurial ideas to reinvent how we live and work in the world to help make people’s lives better. Its aim is to revolutionize the way businesses, government and the social sector work together – driving business as a force for good.

Contact: Matthias Stausberg

About the Clinton Foundation

Building on a lifetime of public service, President Bill Clinton established the Clinton Foundation with the mission to improve global health, strengthen economies, promote health and wellness, and protect the environment by fostering partnerships among governments, businesses, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and private citizens to turn good intentions into measurable results. Since 2001, President Clinton’s vision and leadership have resulted in nearly 5 million people benefiting from lifesaving HIV/AIDS treatment; more than 15,000 U.S. schools building healthier learning environments; more than 51,000 micro-entrepreneurs, small business owners, and smallholder farmers improving their livelihoods and communities; and more than 248 million tons of CO2 being reduced in cities around the world. And President Clinton has redefined the way we think about giving and philanthropy through his Clinton Global Initiative, whose members have made more than 2,300 commitments that are improving the lives of nearly 400 million people in more than 180 countries. For more information,, read our blog, and follow us on Twitter@ClintonTweet and Facebook at

Contact: Clinton Foundation Press Department
Phone: + 1-212-348-0360

YSB-Albania participated in three regional seminars

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Yunus Social Business Albania attended three one-day regional seminars (held on 13th, 16th and 17th of July 2012 in Vlora, Tirana and Elbasan) on “Social Enterprises: Reality and an opportunity for social and economic development”. These events were organized by the Forum of Social Enterprises with the aim to promote the concept of social business, discuss legal infrastructure in Albania and present the existing social businesses initiatives.

These events gathered together more than 50 representatives from various regional and local actors, including entrepreneurs, NGO’s, regional and local public institutions, media, etc. Yunus Social Business Albania was represented by Ms. Ermira Repaj (Business Consultant) and Ms. Jola Foto (Communications and Events Manager). Ms. Ermira Repaj presented the Holistic Social Business Movement of Albania together with Mr. Gerion Treska (representative of the “Promoting Social Business”, a public agency). In the second session, YSB-Albania team took also part of the roundtable discussions about the social and economic impact of social businesses in Albania and legal infrastructure. Ms. Ermira Repaj, emphasized that “the legal infrastructure shouldn’t be an reason for not starting social businesses, but strongly motivated social entrepreneurs, good social business ideas developed into very good business plans are crucial for attracting investors and providing sustainable solutions for social problems”.

They were a good opportunity to foster awareness on social business within the regional and local actors, present the activities of Yunus Social Business as a catalyst of the Social Business Movement of Albania and invite different stakeholders to join the movement and work together for development of social business and provide solutions for the country’s most pressing social needs.

For more information about YSB please contact:

Yunus Social Business
+49 69 90 55 90 30

Yunus Social Business Albania
+355 69 40 96592