Over the last three days, Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus was on a visit to Haiti where he announced funding for several social businesses in the country. This marked the second visit to Haiti for the pioneer of social business. On his first visit last year, he presented the economic model of these businesses that would seek to reinvest profits to achieve a social objective.
A mix of loans and equity investments will be funneled into two poultry farms, a bakery, and a plantation of jatropha plants that can be used for biodiesel, offering an alternative energy source while creating jobs for 200 farmers.
The amount invested in each will range from $80,000 to $500,000, and feature loans with interest rates ranging from 6-10 percent.
A social business must have a social mission as an NGO would and generate revenues to cover costs. Yunus’ trip included field visits and a conference examining ways to use his development philosophy to ease poverty in Haiti.
The Germany-based Yunus Social Business Fund, formerly the Grameen Creative Lab, opened an office in Haiti after the temblor in 2010, where the country is still recovering.
Yunus is a Bangladeshi banker known for developing a microcredit program for entrepreneurs who were too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans.
He sits on a board of more than 30 philanthropists, former government leaders and executives that advise Haitian President Michel Martelly on economic matters. Former President Clinton, also the United Nations special envoy to Haiti, is a co-chairman.
Yunus also plans to launch a nationwide social business competition for university students before leaving Haiti on Monday.
Photo from AP/Dieu Nalio Chery.
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