Social Business Day is celebrated worldwide every year on 28th June. This year about 1,000 participants from home and abroad gathered in Dhaka to participate in the fourth annual Social Business Day with the theme of “turning visions into realities” at the Radisson Blu Water Garden Hotel. Apart from local participants, members from 30 other countries attended the event. The objective of this event is to create awareness about social business by sharing the experiences of social business entrepreneurs and experts in the field. The occasion coincides with the birthday of Nobel Laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus. The day’s proceedings commenced with birthday wishes for Professor Muhammad Yunus from friends around the world. Sir Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Group, with his team, wished Prof Muhammad Yunus in a pre-recorded video.
Present at the event was US Ambassador Dan Mozena who said Prof Yunus had not only given a model but also an opportunity to the poor to invest and lift themselves out of poverty and to become contributing members of the society. His Highness YAM Tunku Ali Redhauddin Prince of Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia said that social businesses had become a mainstream business model rather than an alternative form of business
At the opening plenary session : Social Business around the World, the Grameen Bank founder and initiator of social business concept said people working on spreading the idea are being invited to solve social problems even in developed world. He said his vision is to see one percent of the total investment of a country is made in the social businesses within the next five years. In the plenary session, Emmanuel Faber, CEO of France-based Danone, said social business is a highly innovative idea and powerful answer to social problems. He said the theory had opened a new horizon of business and opportunities for entrepreneurs around the world. Binod Chaudhary, chairman of Chaudhary Group, Nepal, and also the first billionaire in the country, said billions of dollars are spent every year around the world to lift people out of poverty. But their fates have not changed much. Chaudhary also said the society’s youth would have to be made the driver of the change.
During the day, a web portal, socialbusinesspedia.com, was launched. It will have all the real-time information about global social business activities. The event also created an opportunity for participants to engage in various interactive panel sessions and workshops to broaden their understanding in their specific areas of interest and to highlight issues such as “Entrepreneurs and Investors,” “Social Business: Youth and Technology,’ “Social Business and Healthcare”, “NGOs and Social Business”, “Microfinance as Social Business” and “Social Business & Academia”. In addition the Social Business Marketplace showcased social business companies running successfully in Bangladesh and around the world giving clear insights into the world of social business.
The closing plenary session : Social Business-What’s next, was attended by social business practitioners from around world. Managing Director of Grameen Telecom Trust, Ms. Parveen Mahmud spoke on the occasion. She stated that Grameen Telecom Trust will play an exemplary role in implementing social business throughout Bangladesh.
The evening was concluded by exquisite cultural performance by the students of Grameen Caledonian College of Nursing.
About the future of social business Prof Muhammad Yunus concluded that, “We have just started social business. It will bring a paradigm shift in the world business.” He further mentioned “If you want to do something you have to imagine it. If you don’t imagine it, it will never happen.”