New Social Businesses from the 41st Social Business Design Lab

NGO News Report :: The 41st Social Business Design Lab organized by Yunus Centre took place on 20 December 2014 at the Grameen Bank Bhaban. As before the half day long program was chaired by Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, and brought together more than 130 participations from Bangladesh and abroad coming  from diverse backgrounds. The event was also live streamed by Yunus Centre and watched online by participants around the globe. 

Professor Yunus welcomed the participants to the Lab and updated the audience  that 496 social business projects had been  presented in the 40 labs organized to date since January 2013, of which 471 had been approved for investment, most of which were already in operation.

At the 41st Lab held today, six new Nobin Udyokta (new entrepreneurs from Grameen Bank families) presented their business plans. Three of the six entrepreneurs were young women.

Social Business Design LabThe businesses presented were Ranju Art Publicity of Mr Ranju Mia, which produces publicity materials ranging from visiting cards to banners; Hafsa Ladies Purse by Ms Hafsa Akter producing fancy ladies hand bags and purses; Tanbir Dairy Farm by Md Azad Hossain,  Nahar Nakshi Work producing embroidered quilts by Ms Lutfun Nahar and M/S Hashem Store by Abul Hashem Bhuiyan who has a store but also himself produces candles and “agar bati” (incense sticks),  and, finally, Fashion Gallery by Zosna Begum which is a retail stores selling ladies clothing.

Their presentations provided details of their business plans, details of the investment needed, monthly and annual profits, breakeven point for the business, and payback period of their investment. The projects were discussed in detail in plenary and in group discussions, and all six were approved for investment through social business funds as participants thought each business was well designed and had presented realistic business plans.

In addition, Grameen Telecom Trust signed two joint venture agreements with SDRS Solar Project and Red Worm Vermi Compost project for the launch of their social businesses. Grameen Shakti Samajik Byabosha Ltd also signed nine new Nobin Udyokta projects.

At the end of the event, Professor Muhammad Yunus noted that it was very good progress that nearly 500 new social businesses projects had been launched in the two years since the start of the Social Business Design Lab in January 2013. He said that the vast majority of them were Nobin Udyokta projects where the young people running the businesses had undertaken that they would not be job-seekers, rather they would be job-givers,  providing employment for themselves but also for others in their communities, which was an invaluable contribution to the national economy.

Professor Yunus invited everyone to attend the next two Social Business Design Labs which would be held on 17 January 2015 and 14 February 2015 respectively, as well as to the annual Social Business Day celebration which would take place in 2015 on 28 May.

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