Marika Mathieu


Microcredit, an innovative business model.

Driven by the “success stories” of entrepreneurs from countries in the South, “social business” is a new business model which aims to reconcile capitalism and positive social impact. Microcredit activities are often associated with it, but “social business” concerns many sectors in all countries.

The strict concept of “social business” was defined by Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner and father of modern microcredit in his book “ Towards a New Capitalism ”:

“A social business is a company that does not distribute dividends. It sells its products at prices that allow it to be self-financing. Its owners can get back the money they invested in the business after a certain period of time, but nowhere is any profit paid to them in the form of dividends. Instead, the profits made by the company stay with it in order to finance its expansion, create new products or services, and do more good in the world. ”

If “social business” is often associated with microcredit, it is because one of the
The first large-scale social enterprise experiments were carried out by the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, which opened up microcredit to the poorest.

But “social business” is developing in other sectors and going further. This is the case of the company created by Danone and the Grameen Bank to develop dairy products with high nutritional value at affordable prices. These are distributed by women benefiting from microcredits to start an economic activity that supplements the family income. Ultimately, the success of this project will be judged on financial and non-financial criteria such as the number of direct and indirect jobs created (milk producers, small wholesalers, door-to-door saleswomen), improvement in the health of the infant population or the preservation of the environment.

“Social business” is emulated and participates more generally in innovation in the field of social entrepreneurship, in its multiple forms, now taught in business schools around the world. In short, this is the new business “class” of solidarity managers and entrepreneurs, bearers of what some call the “revolution” of “social business”, of which microcredit is one example among others.

To know more :

Translated by Google
This article is part of the special report: