Delegation of Students and Alumni Visits Bangladesh to Study Social Business
Yunus Social Business Centre@CUHK, a subsidiary of this Centre, led a delegation of six students and alumni to Dhaka, Bangladesh on 17-23 June 2019. They visited two social businesses under the Grameen Foundation and a social innovative project run by the non-governmental organisation, Building Resources Across Communities (BRAC), to study their different modes of intervention in the society.
Grameen Foundation is founded by the Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus rendering holistic services to improve the quality of life of grassroots. The borrowers of its Grameen Bank received home visits of the delegation and allowed them to sit in on their assembly to learn about ways of promoting rural community development and empowering women through microcredit. The delegation also visited the Grameen Shakti, also under Grameen Foundation, to have an understanding of its solar energy system for off-grid rural households. Taking the same opportunity, the delegation gained knowledge of the New Entrepreneur Programme which aims to assist the second generation of borrowers to start their own business.
As for the non-governmental organisation BRAC, it introduced the Social Innovation Lab and Microfinance Programme to the delegation. The former incubates social innovation projects to tackle arising social challenges, while the latter aims at providing financial services that were inaccessible for the poor in mainstream financial institutions. BRAC also lined up the delegation with its social enterprise Aarong which is a prominent fashion retailer in Bangladesh established in 1978 endeavouring to create humane job opportunities for rural crafters and small producers. By opening the production hub, supplier’s factory and retail outlet, the social compliance measures of Aarong was displayed.
This Bangladesh trip not only broadened the horizon of participants, but also enabled them to be inspired by the local social innovators.
Delegation of Students and Alumni Visits Germany to Connect with other Young Social Entrepreneurs from All over the World
Yunus Social Business Centre@CUHK led a delegation of six students and alumni to Wolfsburg and Berlin, Germany on 5 – 11 November 2018. They attended the Global Social Business Submit 2018 and paid visit to a non-governmental organisation in Berlin during the trip.
Global Social Business Submit is the worldwide leading forum for Social Business. It serves to spread awareness about Social Business, foster discussion and collaboration between practitioners and stakeholders, as well as present and conceive best practices. The main topic of the Global Social Business Submit 2018 is “Building a New Civilization”.
During the Young Challenger’s & Pioneers’ Meeting of Global Social Business Submit, CUHK delegates have met young social entrepreneurs from all over the world and learnt about different social business models used by them to tackle social issues in different context. Meanwhile, through a series of talks and forums, the CUHK delegates have inspired by how social business can be adopted in different fields such as plastic & circular economy, mobility, solidarity, sports, food etc. for a better future for humanity.
The delegates also visited the Kitchen Hub of Über den Tellerrand in Berlin after the Submit. Über den Tellerrand is a non-profit organisation engaged in the integration of refugees. The Kitchen Hub located in Berlin aimed to provide a platform to encourage face-to-face encounters between the local community and refugees through different programme related to food and cooking, which offers people the opportunity to learn from one another and discover new cultures.
It was an eye-opening experience of the CUHK delegates in this trip to re-think about how an action to initiate a social enterprise or business can make a difference to the world. Besides, the post-submit field visit also enabled them to know more about how social entrepreneurs in another metropolitan city try to tackle their own social problems. Collaboration connections were also established between Yunus Social Business Centre@CUHK and other Yunus Social Business Centres across the region.