The 14th Social Business Design Lab took place on 19 April 2014 at the Grameen Bank Auditorium. Over 150 participants from national and international organizations attended in the program.
The Design Lab was chaired by Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus. He began by welcoming the guests including those participating via live stream.
Professor Yunus then provided a summary of the projects presented at the lab so far. Of a total of 113 projects, 97 projects approved for implementation, 36 projects are operational and 54 projects received investments, getting prepared to start the business soon.
At the 14th design lab, two milestones crossed, it crossed the 100 social businesses submitted in the design labs and the investors already invested over Tk.1.25 Crore till now in social business projects- coming out from the design labs.
At the 14th lab, fourteen new social business plans were presented. These included twelve Nobin Udyokta projects, businesses launched by young entrepreneurs who are the children of Grameen Bank families. Some of these were Sharna Twinkle Craft, the project is about selling Tangail Daba, Baluchori Sarees by Md. Abdur Rahman, Jamuna Dairy Farm, a social business on milk production by Ms Papeya Begum, Sharkar Medical Hall, a social business for making good medicine available for local people by Ms Panna Rani Sharker and Debnath Bracelet Works, a social business of running a periwinkle bracelet by Mr. Debnath Sur.
In addition, a Social Business of Red Worm Vermicompost, which is about producing organic fertilizer from earth worms by Md. Sazzad Hossain and social business named Tripty Handicrafts, the project fuses modern design with traditional handicraft in a transparent supply chain to benefit vulnerable women in Bangladesh, preserve the natural environment and present consumers with an avenue for ethical consumption by Mr Luke Swanson, were presented.
All the plans were greeted warmly by the participants. There were several rounds of discussions on how each social business could be improved and strengthened during the main session as well as in breakout sessions. All fourteen projects received go ahead to proceed. These projects would be finalized for investment and implementation as next step.
In between sessions, there was a Q and A session with Professor Yunus with online participants from different countries.
The day ended with signing of MoU for the launch of seven social businesses. Grameen Kalyan signed two agreements, one is with Md Habibur Rahman of Habib Dairy farm and another one is with Md. Jahangir Alam of Jahangir Engineering Workshop. Grameen Trust signed four MoU agreements with Nazmul Ahmed of Adhare Alo Enterprise, Md. Faruk Hossain of Faruk Information and Community Center, Md. Jalal Uddin for Jalal’s Homemade Bag and Md. Zakir of Khaja Tiles and Sanitary. Gremeen Byabosa Bikash signed one MoU with Mr. Rasel of Rasel Water Tab Factory.
Professor Yunus thanked the participants for the innovative social businesses and noted that it was exciting that so many ideas were now a reality. He also invited participants to the 15th Social Business Design Lab on May 3 and to attend this year’s Annual Social Business Day on June 28.