Apr 02, 2023

Go beyond chasing business profits. Explore social businesses.

Harsh Mehta,   PGDM 2022 – 24

Development of Corporate Citizenship (DoCC) is a novel initiative pioneered by SPJIMR more than 30 years ago, rooted in the belief that ‘Civil society is a learning mechanism’. DoCC offers participants immersive social internships across India and South Asia to engage with grassroots communities and organisations. SPJIMR participants undergoing their immersion programme at the Yunus Centre had an incredible opportunity to interact with the Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, globally recognised for establishing the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh.

Harsh Mehta (PGDM 2022-24), who visited the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh with his cohort, encapsulates their momentous meeting with the Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus and shares the key takeaways from this experience.

Dr. Yunus and the participants discussed the initial days of the Grameen Bank, the various challenges it faced and how the organisation used innovative methods to break the social stigma associated with lending to women. He enthusiastically reminisced about his childhood days being a boy scout and how he received the opportunity to travel to India, West Pakistan, the United States, Canada, Japan and various other countries.

According to him, the three most pressing issues currently plaguing the world are Global Warming, Wealth Concentration and Unemployment and expressed serious concerns about the inability of the current economic system to alleviate these issues.

Responding to what keeps him going, he says, “Excitement lies in addressing a hitherto unsolved problem. You are suspicious of your solution, and others are suspicious too. Once you have the prototype ready, all you have to do is to sprinkle the seeds to see the maximum positive impact.”

He highlights, “We did not start Grameen Bank with the criteria of having more women borrowers. However, over time, we noticed that women borrowers were the most disciplined and brought about the maximum social impact on their families. It is due to this that currently, Grameen Bank has more than 97% women borrowers in 80000+ villages of Bangladesh”

His mantra for the youngsters of today is “Making money is happiness. Making other people happy is super happiness”. He urged the participants to go beyond the unidimensional aspect of chasing business profits and motivated them to explore establishing social businesses.

Key Learnings:

  • Entrepreneurs are not one-dimensional human beings who just think of maximising profits; instead they are multidimensional beings who also wish to satisfy the emotional, social, spiritual and environmental dimensions of their life.
  • Youngsters today should think beyond the unidimensional aspect of maximising business profits and start looking at the maximising social impact of their actions.
  • Many of the world’s social problems can be solved by establishing relevant social businesses. Social businesses are a sustainable way of addressing deep-rooted social issues while also ensuring the financial sustainability of the business.
  • The comprehensive 18 decision criteria developed by Grameen Bank have been one of the most crucial reasons for the success of Grameen Bank and have helped countless borrowers come out of poverty and realise their full potential.
  • The feeling of happiness that you obtain from helping others is intoxicating. Once you have experienced it, you cannot withdraw from it.
AppLy Now