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Über dieses Buch

Conceptualized and put into practice by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Dr. Muhammad Yunus, social businesses work to address social ills such as poverty, lack of health care, gaps in education and environmental challenges. This book explores the ideation, practice and evaluation of the concept of social business. Not just theoretical foundations but several case studies of social businesses around the world and state-of-the-art assessment of the issues that arise in the planning, marketing and evaluation of social businesses, are featured in this book.

This cutting-edge collection of articles, presented by the California Institute for Social Business (CISB) in collaboration with Professor Yunus, is one of the first comprehensive collections of theory and research on the emerging field of social business. The diverse group of authors come from around the world and from various disciplinary backgrounds, representing the leading academic experts on social business phenomena.



Introduction: Background and Theory


Chapter 1. Social Business: Defining and Situating the Concept

This chapter defines the concept of social business, including Type I and Type II social businesses. By situating social business in a broader range of related ideas, we clarify its evolution and distinctiveness. The authors also raise questions about issues that surface in the creation and study of social business, including the question of selfish human nature; the need for social performance indicators; understanding of social and cultural contexts; and the political implications of social change. This first chapter also describes the format of the rest of the book.
Andrea Grove, Gary A. Berg

Chapter 2. Mission, Finance, and Innovation: The Similarities and Differences Between Social Entrepreneurship and Social Business

Social business and social entrepreneurship offer an exciting field for empirical and conceptual management research. Yet, while there are many attempts to define either social entrepreneurship or social business, the boundaries and overlaps of both phenomena often remain vague or contested – thus rendering empirical or conceptual learning more difficult. We propose a three-dimensional definitional framework to define social business and social entrepreneurship, distinguish them, and relate them to each other. Our framework interprets the pure forms of both social business and social entrepreneurship as the two-dimensional combination of a pure social mission with either pure financial self-sustainability (social business) or a pure innovation focus (social entrepreneurship). Since the finance and innovation perspective are distinct yet independent dimensions, we derive and illustrate four cases of how social business and social entrepreneurship may but need not overlap. Challenging the assumption that each dimension is confined to two dichotomous values, we then interpret each dimension as a full spectrum and introduce the idea of mission, finance, and innovation hybridity. Our discussion suggests that multidimensional hybridity is the empirical rule rather than the exception. It is for this reason that the study of the pure forms of social business and social entrepreneurship promises particularly fruitful insights for management research. We conclude with implications for future management research.
Markus Beckmann, Anica Zeyen, Anna Krzeminska

Case Studies


Chapter 3. The Holistic Social Business Movement in Caldas (HSBM), Colombia

This chapter tells the story of Grameen Caldas, a Social Business Incubator Fund in a geographical area of Colombia called Caldas, located within the so called “EjeCafetero,” one of Colombia’s most important coffee producing regions. Initiated by the Governor of Caldas in cooperation with Prof. Yunus and The Grameen Creative Lab in Germany, Grameen Caldas went through many iterations in an attempt to establish an “ecosystem” that promotes and supports the creation of a microfinance organization in combination with a series of social businesses that tackle the region’s most pressing social issues. This chapter describes how social business can be used as a sustainable regional development approach called a Holistic Social Business Movement. It explains its history, its business model, and lays out some key lessons related to the creation of this social business ecosystem and social businesses themselves. The insights described are mostly based on personal experience and perception rather than measurable academic evidence. However, following Professor Yunus’ motto of “You never know until you try,” Grameen Caldas tried many things; this chapter summarizes what we learned applying this approach.
Martin Loeffler

Chapter 4. Social Business and Student Financial Aid

With a focus on the need to expand access to education, this chapter presents the cases of Lumni, Vittana, and Kiva organizations which offer alternative forms of financial aid. The author begins by considering the evolution of private, public, and for-profit models of higher education in America. He then describes financial aid trends internationally, particularly related to increased dependence on loans and newer alternatives including income-contingent loans and human capital contracts. Within this context, Berg considers three specific ventures, their histories, organizational structures, successes, challenges, and future directions.
Gary A. Berg

Chapter 5. Disease: Social Business for a Malaria Free World – BASF Grameen Limited

Badische Aniline und Soda Fabrik (BASF) (Badische Anilin- und Soda-Fabrik (English: Baden Aniline and Soda Factory) Grameen Limited was formed in 2009 as a social business joint venture between BASF and Grameen Healthcare Trust to improve the health condition of the low-income people of Bangladesh. The chemical (interceptor) mosquito nets are the first product of this venture aiming to reduce insect-borne diseases such as malaria which has been a health risk for the poor living in urban and rural areas of Bangladesh. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that protection provided by these nets against the night-active vector mosquitoes is the most effective means of preventing malaria infections. Against this backdrop, this chapter considers critical issues of this business venture attempting to solve societal needs including: the cost of each LLIN (Long Lasting Impregnated Net) as opposed to the average financial affordability of the poor, and the marketing mechanism of LLIN to target the poor living in the rural, slum and other disadvantaged areas.
Sheikh Rubaiya Sultana Munni, Kh Md Nahiduzzaman

Chapter 6. Grameen Shakti Social Business: A Vanguard Model for Rural Energy Service

When Grameen Shakti was founded as the first renewable energy service company in rural Bangladesh, few people expected it would succeed. The problems of providing solar electricity to villagers who for generations had not known electric lighting was considered too difficult; the people in rural communities too poor. In many ways the critics were right. What they didn’t understand was the power of innovation to open up opportunities in an undeveloped market. As a pioneer in an unexplored market, Shakti set up village branches and took time to understand its village customers. It experimented with long-term solutions, focused on sustainability and built its company to last. During its first 16 years, Shakti evolved into the largest off-grid solar energy company in the world, letting five million people benefit from light, electricity and additional income. Shakti’s work in Bangladesh is far from finished. But its success as a social business demonstrates what can be achieved in a tough rural environment. Rural electrification large scale is feasible. And Shakti’s entrepreneurial approach is a vanguard model for serving the billion rural customers in developing countries that are still deprived of electricity.
Nancy Wimmer

Chapter 7. Information Technology: Marriage Between IT and Social Business – Grameen Intel Social Business Ltd.

Aiming to reduce infant mortality, improve the mother’s health, and help Bangladeshi rural farmers improve agricultural production, Grameen Intel Social Business Limited was formed in 2009 by Grameen Trust and Intel – linking an organization with decades of experience in addressing poverty to a company with decades of know-how in technology innovation. Grameen Intel is devoted to looking at different ways and means to assist the rural poor by investigating their real needs to find suitable solutions using information and technology (IT). In the agriculture care program, mrittika analyzes soil nutrients to find the deficit nutrition required for enhanced production while ankur is a seed selection application for the rural farmers. Under maternal health programs, shumata is ante-natal care monitoring and tracking software for pregnant women, and dolna is a vaccine scheduling and tracking software for newborns and infants. Given this background, this part of the book attempts to discuss these ongoing programs to view the current and potential effects on the villagers. Moreover, a critical look is given on the geographic dissemination, costs associated with these services and actual benefits.
Kh Md Nahiduzzaman, Sheikh Rubaiya Sultana Munni

Chapter 8. Social Business City: Lessons from Wiesbaden

As the seeds of social business continue to spread around the world, some places have already laid the groundwork for these seeds to germinate and grow. One such place is Wiesbaden, Germany, where a coalition of governmental, non-governmental, educational, and private institutions have come together to create the ideal habitat for the concept of social business to start embedding its roots deep into the foundation of today’s society. This chapter introduces the concept of the “social business city” and provides a description of the various organizations that have contributed to making Wiesbaden the first social business city in the world. The cooperative interaction of these entities has created a synergy with results that render the city an excellent model for other cities that want to initiate similar projects. The chapter concludes with a summary of lessons learned from the Wiesbaden experience.
Antonio Francisco Jiménez Jiménez

Chapter 9. The Mystery of Small Social Business Ownership by the Poor: Creative Solutions Based on the Poor’s Potential

Large businesses face certain limitations due to their focus on economic goals and cannot be seen as principle players in dealing with poverty issues. This chapter aims to explore how poor people with limited assets and capabilities manage to bring about creative solutions to their problems. Examination of two social businesses established and run by poor people shows that they manage innovatively to activate assets and capabilities to compensate for the lack of resources. The cases reveal the importance of awareness of poverty issues and the commitment of the poor. The study also highlights the need for future research to scale these models, and further stimulate the cooperation between the poor and other players in tackling poverty issues.
Nghia Chi Nguyen

Practice: Lessons Learned About Designing Social Businesses


Chapter 10. Social Business Planning: Management and Financial Issues

This chapter reviews some of the most well-known social business cases as well as social business literature, complemented with qualitative interviews with social business entrepreneurs and practitioners to identify common challenges, risks and opportunities from a management and financial perspective. An analysis of that literature and these interviews allows us to identify issues faced by social business practitioners that are not unique to them, along with others arising from the very concept of the social nature of their ventures.
Maria Ballesteros-Sola

Chapter 11. Social Business Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is a combination of different elements used to serve a market. This chapter proposes a marketing mix unique to social businesses. Since social businesses are often targeted towards the Bottom of Pyramid (BOP) population with the main objective of solving a social problem, the authors propose a revised marketing mix. The chapter clearly defines a social business and differentiates it from corporate social responsibility (CSR). The elements of product, price, place and promotion are customized and made applicable to those who are affected by a social problem. Three small start-up social business ventures are then described in detail to illustrate how the proposed marketing mix applies to social businesses.
Zarjina T. Khalil, Mehdi Hussain

Critical Perspectives


Chapter 12. Social Business and Poverty Alleviation: Lessons from Grameen Danone and Grameen Veolia

Since Muhammad Yunus first began launching joint ventures with multinational corporations such as Group Danone (2006) and Veolia Water (2008) in Bangladesh, his social business concept has received international attention. With reference to empirical findings from a comprehensive field study in rural Bangladesh, this paper suggests that Yunus’ early social business joint ventures do contribute to poverty reduction in terms of the sustainable livelihoods approach. Both Grameen Danone Foods and Grameen Veolia Water Ltd. provide low-income consumers with access to products for their basic needs, while at the same time creating new sources of social and economic capital. However, considering the multidimensional character of poverty, the findings are not suggestive of a panacea. Given the fact that the conscious abdication of personal financial gain by those who invest in a social business company is the defining attribute in Yunus’ concept, the authors conclude that his idea is primarily a strong plea for social entrepreneurship. It is a strong call for the efficient use of philanthropic resources in contrast with a more conventional charity approach.
Kerstin Humberg, Boris Braun

Chapter 13. The One and the Many Sides of Social Business: A Critical Reflection

The concept of social business has inspired many people world-wide. However, also critical voices have been raised pointing to potential shortcomings of social business models. Especially because the model addresses issues highly relevant to society, it is inevitable to scrutinize its positive effects, but also the challenges involved. In this chapter, we present the four main strengths of social business in fostering positive social change, empowering marginalized groups, producing effective solutions, and defining a new role for business. We then point to four limitations and critically discuss them. Thereby, we elaborate on a set of questions regarding the reach, effects, and sustainability of social business models as well as the degree of participation they achieve. Lastly, we provide an overview of critical management challenges social businesses are facing. We conclude that if social business policies and founders take account of and engage with these challenges, the concept bears considerable potential.
Karin Kreutzer, Stefanie Mauksch



Chapter 14. Looking Forward

Based on the preceding contributions, this final chapter first provides observations about the state of knowledge concerning the social business concept and its implementation across cases. The second section of the chapter takes a look forward, pointing out major avenues for future research that must be explored in order to enrich our understanding about the impact of social business.
Andrea Grove


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