Social Business

“The new challenge of Muhammad Yunus – after having overturned the basic assumptions of the world economy with its idea of microcredit – is to imagine a different capitalism, based on companies that have as their purpose not only the achievement of profit but also social wealth: the social business. ”

(From the back cover of “Si può fare!” M. Yunus, serie bianca Feltrinelli, trad. from “BUILDING SOCIAL BUSINESS The New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs.”)

Here are the “seven principles that present the key features of the enterprise with social objectives: (…)

  1. The business objective is to vercome poverty, or one or more problems (such as education, health, technology access, and environment) that threaten people and society – not to maximize profit.
  2. The company will attain financial and economic sustinability.
  3. Investors get back only their investment amount. No dividend is given beyond the return of the original investment.
  4. When the investment amount is paid back, profit stays with the company for expansion and improvement
  5. The company will be environmentally conscious.
  6. The workforce gets market wage with better-than-standard working conditions.
  7. Do it with joy!!!

(cit. page 31)

Regarding the public private partnership, on page 53, we find:

“The social business wants to be a further option for investors. No one is forced to join. Its field of action is to a free economy based on the principle of free choice. (…) The social business also allows the private citizen to address actions normally considered aa dependent on the state. This makes it possible to reduce the economic load for the state and that his efforts will complement the contribution of civil society. Governments can cooperate with the initiatives of social business managed by civil society and business, given that these initiatives do not target the private profit and at the same time, can give rise to firms with a “public” social purpose.

(…) The social business enhances the growth and spontaneous experimentation from the bottom (…) and it is the acknowledge that the responsibility for solving societal problems should be shared by government and citizens (…)

(…) People rich in intelligence, creativity and talent can develop and introduce innovations that rarely a public bureaucracy is able to produce, and they do not this without imposing any tax.

(…) Here’s a way to combine the energy and creativity of the company with the declared social vocation of government intervention in order to produce that level of shared benefits that so far neither has been able to reach areas.

(cit. pages 54-55)

Can the Windhorse project, the Windflower project carried out as social business enterprises? We think so.

And as always to name Yunus, the recommendation is “starting small, but starting tomorrow morning” (cit. page 135)

… We decided to try running a small social business. It will be a short-run project, with a moderate investment. Objective: to disseminate the Windhorse model in Italy, making it available to Italian operators. How can we do that? The first action is to dub film “Someone beside you” in italian and then reselling copies in limited edition.