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BartaBangla Report :: Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus and Dr Raj Shah, Administrator of USAID, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 22 July 2013 in a ceremony attended by high officials of USAID at Washington D.C to collaborate in promoting social business in various countries.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has signed between The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Yunus Social Business (YSB) affirming their common interest in fostering market-based solutions to the critical social and economic challenges facing the World’s poor.

USAID and YSB will work together to promote entrepreneurship and the development of “Social Business” in vulnerable and under-served communities around the world in an effort to promote lasting and positive social, economic and environment development.

YSB, headquartered in Frankfurt, has been spearheading the advancement of “Social Business” around the world. Social business focuses on a core social and environmental mission, but employs business models which enable them to generate revenues and be financially sustainable. Recognizing the power of entrepreneurial approaches to addressing development challenges, USAID has joined YSB to collaborate on the development of Social Business Incubator Funds in a targeted set of developing countries. These incubator funds will provide financing as well advisory support to selected social businesses that are poised to grow and scale up their impact.

dr. yunus

“Our collaboration with Yunus Social Business is indicative of the new model for development that USAID is actively pursuing with a multitude of partners throughout the World, to advance solutions to development challenges that are sustainable in the long-term” stated USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah at the MOU signing held at USAID headquarter in Reagan Building. “We share vision of how to address social, economic and environmental challenges in the developing world, and we look forward to making a real difference in the countries we work in.” he added.

Professor Muhammad Yunus, the Chairman of Yunus Social business, stated, “I am delighted to announce this new partnership between USAID and YSB to support our Social Business Initiatives across the world. The technical support from USAID will help us to amplify the impact achieved by our Social Business Incubator Funds.  USAID’s financial contribution will act as the catalyst in attracting new private sector capital into Social Business, enabling YSB to invest in more social businesses, and to reach even more poor people than before. YSB offices and programs in Haiti, Albania, Brazil, Colombia and Uganda, will seek to collaborate with USAID Bureaus and Missions to find and implement solutions together, combining USAID’s vast international development knowledge with YSB’s expertise in Social Business. I am excited to be joined by USAID in our effort to advance the concept of Social Business.

“USAID partners with organizations like YSB that are taking innovative approaches to supporting social entrepreneurship that improve the impact of our own development interventions”, Raj Shah said.

In addition to the MOU signing, Professor Muhammad Yunus addressed the  staff of USAID on the subject of “Microfinance, Social Business and Eradicating Extreme Poverty”. All senior officials and employees of USAID including USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah and Ms. Nisha Biswal, currently Assistant Administrator of USAID, who has recently been nominated by President Barack Obama to head the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at the US Department of State, and senior staff other agencies attended the lecture.

Professor Muhammad Yunus also participated in a separate event titled as “Conversation with USAID Adminstrator”. Besides Raj Shah, Alex Their, USAID’s Assistant to Adminstrator on Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL) and other senior USAID staff participated in this event focused on “Eradicating Extreme Poverty” live on social media.

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