Second European Social Business Week was held in Lund and Malmö on 12–16 May, 2014. Nobel laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus participated in the week long Forum as the chief guest. Social problems in Europe and their solutions were discussed and explored by and with academics, entrepreneurs, students, NGOs and public officials during the Week. The Week was launched by the vice Chancellor of Lund University, the largest university in Sweden with 47 thousand students, in the Medicon Village of Lund University.
The topic of this year’s European Social Business Forum was “Social Business in the European Union” which aimed to foster discussions and collaborations and enabled the participants, a rich diversity of the social economy as well as entrepreneurs and students, to share ideas and experiences.
Professor Yunus opened the forum in front of an audience 500 people with his speech on “The role of social business to exit the crisis in Europe“. By means of examples of social businesses in Bangladesh and other countries, he explained the concept of social business and the effect of every individual’s creative power to society. Through presentations, panel discussions, and workshops the Forum elaborated on the relevance and implementation of social business in Sweden and the European Union.
International participants, representing private and public sectors as well as civil society organizations, enjoyed a full day of creative exchange, learning, and networking. The hall at Medicon Village in Lund was full.
Earlier on this trip, Professor Yunus visited Tunisia from May 9th to 11th. He launched 11 social businesses generated by the first Social Business Accelerator in Tunisia. He also travelled to 2 of the Social Businesses which have integrated the accelerator: the Dar Ellama senior home and the Sejnene Pottery Group.
Professor Yunus delivered a speech at a reception organized by Mazars, a global audit, accounting and consulting group. The reception was attended by the elite of the city, including CEOs, bankers, and politicians, and where Tunisia’s Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research, Information Technology and Communication, Taoufik Jelassi welcomed Professor Yunus to Tunisia. Professor Yunus participated in a panel discussion with the German Marshall Fund of the US.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) and Yunus Social Business (YSB) have launched the Holistic Social Business Movement program in Tunisia during a National Conference on Social Business in March 2013, with over 500 participants and interventions of President Kaberuka and Professor Yunus. A first wave of Social Businesses have been incubated since 2013 and the first investment is being executed.
Professor Yunus is on a multicountry visit to speak on and launch social businesses around the world. He is expected to be back early June.