Yunus named as one of Fortunes greatest entrepreneurs

26 March 2012

Professor Muhammad Yunus

Professor Muhammad Yunus

Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus has been named by Fortune magazine as one of the 12 Greatest Entrepreneurs Of Our Time.

Professor Yunus is the only social entrepreneur to make the influential list, a who’s who of business visionaries including Steve Jobs of Apple, Bill Gates of Microsoft, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Fortune magazine hailed Professor Yunus for inspiring countless young people around the world to devote themselves to social causes, and for his efforts to alleviate poverty and transform business and society through the work of the Grameen Bank.

The Grameen Bank has become a world movement dedicated to eradicating poverty through micro-lending. Replicas of the model now operate in more than 100 countries worldwide.

"His desire to do something to help the local citizens led to a simple but powerful gesture: Yunus loaned $27 to destitute basket weavers in a village next to his university's campus,” the magazine says.

"He could not believe the excitement the small amount of money caused. For people living on pennies a day, just a few dollars could transform their lives - and in many cases it did. The gift was used to support and expand these very small businesses, and that helped many overcome their poverty. Much to Yunus’ surprise, the basket weavers actually paid off the loans - and on time. He then moved from one village to the next, finding all sorts of entrepreneurial projects to fund.

"It wasn't until 1983 that Yunus founded Grameen Bank, the institution that helped pioneer and spread the concept of micro-credit. By the time Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, the Grameen Bank had outstanding loans to nearly seven million poor people in 73,000 villages in Bangladesh. Yunus, 71, helped create a global movement toward micro-lending. The Grameen model moved on to more than 100 countries worldwide and helped millions.”

Professor Yunus visited Glasgow Caledonian University earlier this month to announce details of a new charity - the Grameen Scotland Foundation - a critical cornerstone of establishing the microfinance bank branch in Glasgow.
The Glasgow prototype will combat the health, social and economic wellbeing inequalities in some of Scotland’s poorest communities, inequalities which have remained resistant to change for decades.

GCU is facilitating the creation of the bank, having set up the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health at the University in 2010.  Through the Centre and with international collaborators, GCU aims to transform the lives of the poorest through pioneering research, examining the impact of microcredit on the health and wellbeing of communities in Scotland and overseas.