Prof. Muhammad Yunus became famous in the world as the father of Microcredit and Social Business. He was born in 1940 in Chittagong, the great port city of Bangladesh.
Student at the University of Dhaka and subsequently at the Vanderbilt University (United States) where he obtained his doctorate, in 1969 Muhammad Yunus became professor of economics at the Middle Tennessee State University (United States) and subsequently Director of the Department of Economics of the University from Chittagong (Bangladesh).
Following the extremely violent flood that hit Bangladesh in 1974, Prof. Yunus becomes aware of the devastating famine widespread in his country. “From that day on I dedicated myself to unlearning theory and taking lessons from reality. To find it, I didn’t have to go far: reality was everywhere, you just had to leave the classroom”, writes Yunus in the famous book “The banker of the poor”.
It was towards the end of the 1970s that Prof. Yunus conceived and began testing a new form of loan: microcredit. Microcredit represents a revolution in rural Bangladesh, being a small loan granted on trust to poor people, without guarantees to be presented to banks.
Prof. Yunus goes beyond the mere invention of microcredit, building around it a real path of capacity and empowerment of the person receiving the loan, coming to define the so-called Grameen methodology. Through the creation of the Grameen methodology, the Microcredit instrument is finally perfected: it truly becomes a tool for the development of the person that allows you to generate income, jobs, financial autonomy, and positively impact the community.
Driven by the desire to support his people in improving living conditions and fueled by the belief that access to credit is a fundamental human right, in 1983 Yunus founded the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, the so-called “Village bank”: it is the first bank in the world to provide small loans to people considered non-bankable by the traditional banking circuit, providing them with a real alternative to usury and poverty.
In the years that followed, Grameen Bank experienced a flourishing development and through it, Prof. Yunus could start and finance numerous initiatives. In the continuous search for solutions to poverty and inequalities generated by capitalism, Prof. Yunus develops over the years a new business model with social purposes: the so-called Social Business.
For promoting with his commitment to the economic and social autonomy of people, especially those in need and marginalized, in 2006 Prof. Yunus and the Grameen Bank jointly win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Microcredit consists of the provision of a small loan granted on trust and without collateral to people excluded from the traditional banking system.
The loan is mainly aimed at carrying out small business activities or consolidating existing activities.
Microcredit programs invest in the value of the person, his skills and his personal utility and aim at his economic and financial autonomy.
The profound revolution in microcredit consists in establishing itself as a multidimensional tool for the development of the person and his ability to make a contribution to the community to which he belongs. In doing so, microcredit places the emphasis not only on the mere act of granting trust, in the form of monetary credit but also and above all, on the importance of the educational and promotional dimension of the person, through a concrete involvement by the various actors of what is a real production process.
At Fondazione Grameen Italia, we offer microcredit support services for the company, following the Grameen Methodology.
The term Social Business indicates an ideal business model, the objective of which (declared and pursued) is the maximization of the social value produced, rather than the optimization of profits, having economic self-sufficiency as a constraint.
It is, therefore, a type of company that has as its main purpose the resolution of a problem of general interest, through the sale of products and services on the free market and in which the profits generated by economic activity are, by statute, widely reinvested in the society itself in order to strengthen its social mission and defend it from speculative risks.