Open main menu

Yunus Social Business – Global Initiatives

Yunus Social Business (YSB) is a profit and non-profit venture fund that turns philanthropic donations into investments in sustainable social businesses. Companies like Impact Water that have been financed by YSB tackle similar challenges to those traditionally addressed by aid agencies or charities, providing employment, education, healthcare, clean water and clean energy to over 3 million people worldwide.

Yunus Social Business
IndustryImpact investing
Founded2011 Edit this on Wikidata
FounderMuhammad Yunus
Area served
Albania, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Haiti, India, Tunisia, Uganda

Founded in 2011, with headquarters in Frankfurt and Berlin, YSB's mission is to expand the social business model pioneered by Prof. Muhammad Yunus through the Yunus Center in Bangladesh, to countries throughout the developing world. The primary goal is to utilise the tools developed in the business world, to create financially self-sustaining companies dedicated to reducing poverty. A secondary goal is to finance social businesses that directly contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

YSB has supported over 3000 Entrepreneurs, completed a revenue of per year $13million of social business financing, helped create over 30,000 jobs and impacted the lives of over 3 million people in Colombia, Brasil, Haiti, The Balkans, Tunisia, India and Uganda.


Founded in 2011 by Muhammad Yunus, Saskia Bruysten and Sophie Eisenmann, YSB's aim is to replicate the social business model, pioneered by Prof. Yunus, across the developing world. With a focus on providing financial and business support to social businesses outside of Bangladesh, the fund focuses on financing companies that either provide income or essential products and services to the poor.[1][2] Yunus Social Business acts as the international implementation arm for Prof. Yunus's Social Business concept[3][4] and operates under the same principles as the Social Businesses it finances, in particular, the social business model.

What YSB doesEdit

YSB currently operates in the following countries, Albania, Brazil, Colombia, Haiti, India, Tunisia and Uganda. Local country teams focus on identifying and sourcing networks, communities and individual social entrepreneurs or existing businesses built around a strong social mission. Promising social businesses that have the potential to scale quickly can then apply for either financing or an accelerator program, to help them prepare for investment.

The Accelerator ProgramsEdit

YSB operates social business accelerator programs in a number of countries. The programs are designed to refine and test business models, establish early market traction and also define and measure social impact metrics. These short 1 to 3 month programs offer social entrepreneurs the opportunity to strengthen their business acumen through workshops, leadership training and access to international and local mentor networks. Businesses that join an accelerator program are typically at the prototype or early-revenue stage and need small but meaningful financial assistance to test their prototypes, increase their productivity and/or scale up production.

The Social Business FundEdit

High potential social entrepreneurs emerging from the accelerator program can apply for financing and business support. At the end of the Accelerator Program, entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to the YSB Investment Committee and selected social businesses may receive seed capital from their in-country Social Business Fund. Investment amounts range from €100,000 to €1,000,000. Financing is provided in incremental steps based on milestone and KPI achievements and as equity and long-term shareholder loans with below-market-conditions and tailored grace and repayment periods.

Country InitiativesEdit

YSB is active in 8 countries with local offices in 7 including Albania, Brazil, Colombia, Haiti, India Tunisia and Uganda.[5] Since 2011,YSB has deployed $12 million to 52 social businesses in 7 countries, supporting more than 1,000 entrepreneurs and having an impact on more than 2 million customers.

YSB AlbaniaEdit

YSB Albania began operations in April 2012 with the support of the Albanian National Government, and in 2014, it expanded its outreach to Kosovo. YSB Albania has financed 5 social businesses to date, and ran its first intense accelerator program in 2014.

YSB BrazilEdit

In March 2013, YSB Brazil was launched to spread the social business concept throughout Brazil; Rio was officially declared a ‘Social Business City.’ Yunus Negocios Sociais Brasil, as it is locally known, ran three cycles of accelerator programs in São Paulo and Rio in 2014.

YSB ColombiaEdit

YSB Colombia was created in 2011 originally as Grameen Caldas and officially became YSB Colombia in 2013. It currently manages a portfolio of 3 social businesses to date, including a joint venture with potato giant McCain.

YSB Costa RicaEdit

Launched the first corporate social business joint venture with a Costa Rican leading food company, Florida Ice and Farm Company, to produce food to combat malnutrition targeting children.

YSB HaitiEdit

Based in Port-au-Prince, the YSB Haiti office was opened in 2010 with the support of our founding partner SAP. Currently, the team manages a portfolio of 9 social businesses. In 2013, YSB set up a new social business joint venture together with Virgin Unite and the Clinton Foundation – The Haiti Forest initiative.[6] The main objectives of Haiti Forest are to engage the local community in re-foresting Haiti, provide sustainable livelihoods to farmers across Haiti, create job opportunities and create an affordable and clean fuel source to reduce dependency on charcoal.

YSB IndiaEdit

YSB India was launched in 2011 in Mumbai, and 7 social businesses have received financing to date.

YSB TunisiaEdit

Launched in 2013 in partnership with the African Development Bank, Tunisia was the first in a series of African countries to replicate the social business concept. In 2014, it launched its first accelerator program, locally known as iBDA.

YSB UgandaEdit

In partnership with the African Development Bank, YSB Uganda was started in November 2013, and the first social businesses were supported in 2014.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Muhammad (2011). Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanity's Most Pressing Needs. PublicAffairs. pp. 256.ISBN 978-1-58648-956-4
  2. ^ "'Social Business': Nobel Peace Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus Promotes New Way To Fight Poverty". 2011-08-11. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
  3. ^ Yunus, Muhammad (2009). Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism. PublicAffairs. pp. 320. ISBN 978-1-58648-667-9.
  4. ^ "Nobel peace laureate Muhammad Yunus announces financing for 'social businesses' in Haiti". Fox News. 2012-10-13. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
  5. ^ "YSB | Yunus Social Business – Global Initiatives". 2013-08-13. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
  6. ^ Rashmee Roshan Lall in Port-au-Prince. "Haiti to plant millions of trees to boost forests and help tackle poverty | World news". Retrieved 2013-11-17.

External linksEdit