Thanks to all the awesome people who were able to make it last Monday. There was a fantastic turnout for only the first session of the semester… things are warming up nicely! True to our raison d’etre, the session had a distinct social business flavour with an extended micro-presentation and group discussion on the topic.
Micro-presentation: To kickstart the semester, we had a micro presentation on Social Business, presented by Nathan and Baptiste. We discussed what social businesses are, – a sustainable business that is created to solve a social issue – attempted to watch a video of Muhammad Yunus talking about social business (video coming soon!) and then examples of social businesses both overseas and here in Sydney.
Baptiste put forward the concept of Grameen Danone, a joint venture between Grameen Bank and French food giant Danone. The main concept is to produce yogurt that is specially enriched with nutrients malnourished children in Bangladesh need for better health, while selling it at a serving size and price point that is relevant to the market. For their part, Danone has had enormous success with this, driving innovation across their organisation while doing a social good. The business is full self-sustaining and growing at a rapid pace. More information here.
Secondly, Baptiste and Nathan went on to tell the group about their own early stage social business start-up, South of the Border. The idea centres around creating shared value in tourism with small group walking tours in off-the-beaten-track urban precincts that incorporate local community projects along with history, culture, flashpoints and colourful characters distinct to the area.
After being incubated by Grameen Creative Lab and National University Singapore during Social Business Week 2012, SotB is currently developing the first tour product with a pilot project in Redfern. For more information check out this recent press release.
Group discussion: Matt kicked off the group discussion that flowed on from the micro-presentation concepts… what exactly are the differenced between social business, charity and the traditional non-profit organisations? The fundamental difference is that social business is specifically setting up a self-sustaining business model to attack a social or environmental issue. The raison d’etre of the organisation is commercial activity. Beyond that there are a whole load of technical aspects, which will be explored in time at THINK micro. Furthermore, the discussion moved onto suitable legal structures for social business. Lastly, Matt asked us to start thinking about fundraising ideas for proposed major projects to be undertaken by THINK micro.
All in all a fabulous kick-start! Even with a few technical audio-visual glitches! Shout outs from Panpan and Adele for anyone with a proposed micro-presentation for next week.
See you all next week! Let’s THINK micro