Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus has launched the UNSW Yunus Social Business Health Hub (YSBHH) in a video address today and urged young Australians to use their creativity to solve the world’s most pressing social problems.
The UNSW Hub, a first for an Australian university, will see UNSW researchers collaborate to develop social business enterprises to improve the health of poor and marginalised communities. It will be part of a global network of university-based Yunus Social Business Centres.
Crowdfunding opportunities with business leaders in the Bangladeshi community are being explored to support the Hub’s first social business enterprises.
Professor Yunus, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, said harnessing the creative power of Australia’s youth to develop social business enterprises is fundamental to solving some of the world’s greatest challenges.
“Many young people are concerned about the health and social problems facing the globe. They also have the creative power to make a difference with some of these issues,” Professor Yunus said.
“The UNSW Yunus Social Business Health Hub will bring the message of social business to the young people of Australia, so their ideas can be captured through social businesses to change the world.”
Professor Yunus believes the concept of social business involves sacrificing financial reward from business and viewing the world through a ‘social business’ rather than a ‘profit-maximising’ lens.
Professor Yunus was awarded the US Presidential Medal for Freedom in 2009 for his work as the founder of Grameen Bank. The bank provides small, low-interest loans to the poor in Bangladesh as a means to lift people out of poverty. This model of ‘microfinance’ has been replicated around the world.
Hub Co-Director UNSW Professor Teng Liaw, an international leader in e-health, said the Hub will focus on developing social business enterprises to address the vast health inequalities in Australia and globally.
UNSW Professor Raina MacIntyre, head of UNSW’s School of Public Health and Community Medicine where the Hub will be based, says UNSW’s strengths in international health, public health and health promotion will be used to forge a new kind of Yunus Centre.
“The UNSW Hub will be like nothing we’ve seen before and aligns with UNSW Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacob’s vision of global impact and social engagement,” Professor MacIntyre said.
UNSW will offer high school students scholarship to get involved in social business enterprises at the Hub.