Olympic spirit can inspire youth entrepreneurship

04 August 2016

HRH Princess Anne and IOC President Thomas Bach with Professor Yunus

HRH Princess Anne and IOC President Thomas Bach with Professor Yunus

Professor Muhammad Yunus delivered an inspirational keynote speech on social business and youth entrepreneurship to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today.

The Glasgow Caledonian University Chancellor highlighted the unique power of the Olympic Movement to energise young people during the 129th IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro.

Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Yunus spoke to more than 200 Presidents of the Olympic Committees, whilst amongst the dignitaries were HRH Princess Anne of UK; HRH Prince Albert of Monaco; the HRH Crown Prince of Denmark and the Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

Professor Yunus applauded the IOC for its capacity to draw the attention of millions of people on the planet to sport in a way that very few others can.

“The sports world has so much power because it draws on the emotion, the excitement and on all the hopes and aspirations of people,” he said.

Professor Yunus reiterated how sport has a unique ability to capture the minds of young people and open up their imagination, helping them develop independence, self-confidence, overcome odds and make the impossible possible – all key attributes for entrepreneurship.

He suggests that placing a focus on youth entrepreneurship can “give a new perspective for looking at the new generation” and therefore contribute to achieving goal eight of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

He called upon the Olympic Movement to leverage its capacity of engaging young people in promoting the spirit of social business among them.

IOC President Thomas Bach said: “Social business is what connects the world of sport with Professor Yunus’ work. Our mission is to make the world a better place through sport. Our commercial success allows us to redistribute more than 90 percent of our revenue to the sporting movement, benefiting athletes and communities around the world. We look forward to the advice of Professor Yunus on how we can cooperate further.”

In the evening, Professor Yunus was a guest of honour at the IOC President’s dinner, joining 400 leaders of the sports world and distinguished guests including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; French President François Hollande and HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.