Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus addressed a convention of French youth, titled as SenseMorning organized by Danone Communities and youth organization MakeSense. French Minister of Youth and Sports were among the youth attending the convention. The goal of the meeting was to select 5 top Social Business start-ups that use technology to solve social issues selected by MakeSense’s SenseCube incubator. The Social Business entrepreneurs pitched their ideas and plans in presence of Professor Yunus.
The event attracted more than 600 people. Young participants whose average was 25 years were eager to hear Professor Yunus speaking waiting in long queues from early morning for the event. All the young people sat barefoot and cross legged on the floor as did the French Minister of Youth and Sports. A highlight of the morning was that the Minister Najat Vallaud Belkacem, age 36, took the floor to express her support for the commitment of the young people to solve society’s problems saying. “I am one of you this morning” and mentioned her long time admiration for the work of Professor Yunus.
Later in the day, Professor Yunus had separate meeting with Ms Najat Vallaud Belkacem at her office with Former French minister and Co- Chair of Yunus Chair of Social Business at the HEC Paris, prestigious business school of France, Mr Martin Hirsch who also joined in the meeting.
Professor Yunus has been invited to the launch of social business initiative by the French President François Hollande on June 10, 2014 at the presidential palace.
On 21 May, Professor Yunus met with newly elected Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, at which they discussed about the prospect of implementing social business in Paris city. The Mayor wrote a book on her ideas of transforming the lives of the rejected people. She lauded the work of professor Yunus in her book. Now she wants to work with him to introduce the concept of social business in addressing some of the problems of Paris. Professor Yunus addressed a gathering of over 2000 people in the City Hall. The conference was inaugurated by the newly elected Mayor, and participated by top bankers, social workers, fund managers, ministers from France, UK, USA and Belgium.
Professor Yunus chaired the meeting of the Executive Committee on the Social Business chair at HEC and addressed the students who are taking courses on social business in HEC.
He also attended the meeting of Action Tank at HEC where automobile company Renault, Essilor, and other companies presented their social business plans.