22 June, Friday

Nobel laureate launches “Yunus Social Business Kenya”


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Nobel laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus visited Kenya to officially launch “Yunus Social Business Kenya”, to be known as YSB Kenya, a social business fund dedicated to harnessing the power of social business to address social problems. Professor Yunus launched the new non-dividend company which was an initiative of three Kenyan Indian business leaders. The company is established in association with YSB Global, which is headquartered in Berlin.
Bharat Doshi, Nilesh Doshi and Vinay Sanghrajka, all three of them successful business leaders of Kenya, were inspired by the work of Professor Muhammad Yunus for many years, and have all been deeply invested in philanthropy in Kenya and India for many years, found social business as an efficient option to solve people’s problems. They decided to create YSB Kenya to bring the business community of Kenya together to tackle social problems of Kenya with a business approach.
The launch was marked with an event with attendance of 320 leading  members of the business community of Nairobi. The YSB Fund will be launched initially with one million dollar with a target of reaching $5 within a year. By the time of holding the launching event $800,000 were already committed for the fund by eight friends. Among the attendees were the renowned 92 year old business tycoon Dr Manu Chandaria and famous philanthropist Dr C.S Sheth. YSB Kenya also organized special book launching event for launching Professor Yunus’s book  ‘A World of Three Zeros — The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment, and Zero Net Carbon Emissions’.
The goal of the YSB Kenya will be to support and invest in social businesses and encourage business community to create their own social businesses to address the problems of the country. According  to the plan of the leaders of YSB Kenya, by 2020 they should be funding 30 social businesses, creating over 30,000 jobs and impacting over 2 million people in Kenya. By turning donations into investments in sustainable social businesses, Yunus Social Business Kenya will aim to tackle the kind of challenges traditionally addressed by aid agencies and charity organizations.
During his visit Professor Yunus also addressed the Nairobi chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organisation (YPO), a network that brings together CEOs from around the world. The event was one of the highest turnouts for any YPO Kenya event ever. His address highlighted to the YPO members on the need to mobilise social business within their own industries, touching on the key themes of his book ‘A World of Three Zeros’.
A group of international partners and supporters of Yunus Social Business from all over the world also accompanied Professor Muhammad Yunus during his visit to Kenya. The delegation visited two social businesses based in Nairobi, Burton & Bamber, agro-processing company that specializes in the preservation of fruit, and Plexus Energy, providing clean energy solutions with solar panel technology.
Professor Yunus visited the Strathmore Business School at their invitation and gave a public lecture for present and former students of the school and entrepreneurs. He encouraged the attendees to re-frame how to think about unemployment, not to become job seekers but to become job creators. He was warmly welcomed by Dr. George Njenga, the Dean of Strathmore Business School, and Dr. Pratap Kumar, professor of entrepreneurship.
The event was jointly hosted by Villgro Kenya. Dr Robert Karanja, the Co-founder and CEO of Villgro encouraged the students to create a world of their choice.
Eminent business leaders from neighbouring countries of Rwanda and Tanzania also attended the launching ceremony and other meetings,  and discussed about the process of creating YSB Funds in their respective countries. Ms Saskia Bruysten, co-founder and CEO of YSB Global accompanied Professor Yunus during the trip.

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