The 37th Social Business Design Lab took place on 15 November 2014 at the Grameen Bank Bhaban. Hundred and fifty participants and observers from national and international organizations including Dr. Cecep Effendi Director General of Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP), a team of American cultural ambassadors, GIZ from Germany, representatives from Centre for Rehabilitation for the Paralyzed (CRP), Queen’s University, Canada, JICA from Japan, participants from different universities at home and abroad including a group of 34 students from South-East University attended the event. There were also participants from Canada, Malaysia, India, Japan, Albania and Italy at the event.
The Design Lab was, as usual chaired by Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus who opened the lab with a welcome to the audience present and those who participated via live stream from 70 other countries.
Professor Yunus updated that a total of 443 social business projects presented in the earlier 36 design labs, 418 have been approved for investment, with most already in operation.
At the Lab, six new social business plans were presented. Among them were five Nobin Udyokta businesses by the young entrepreneurs who are the children of Grameen Bank borrowers. These are Ma Pet Loom House of Md. Aminul Haque, a business to produce variety of satranji mats, Borhan Traders by Md Borhan Uddin for trading in grocery items, Rizu Cosmetics by Sree Dulal Kumar, a business to sell cosmetic, Maa Refrigeration Workshop by Shak. Md. Taslim Uddin and Hasan Quail Bird Hatchery by Md. Rafiqul Islam.
A project was sent by Social Business Centre, Chittagong for presentation and evaluation by the Design Lab. This project was Crescent Fisheries & Agro Project presented by Md. Nizam Uddin to expand scientific aqua culture practice in Potiya, Bangladesh. The project was highly endorsed by the Lab and recommended for funding. The Chittagong Social Business Centre will finance this project.
All the projects were discussed in plenary and in groups, and all six projects were approved for financing.
At the end of the day, two MoUs were signed between Grameen Kalyan and two Nobin Udyokta businesses.
In between sessions, there was a Q and A session with Professor Yunus with online participants from different countries. Usually 70 countries take part in these Design Labs via the internet.
Professor Yunus thanked the participants for the innovative social businesses and noted that it was exciting that so many ideas were now a reality and especially that the young entrepreneurs are generating employment for others, which is a valuable contribution to the economy.
He invited participants to the 38st Social Business Design Lab, to be held on 20 December 2014. The very first Design Lab was held on 5th January, 2014. Since then a total of 36 design labs have been organized by Yunus Centre.