Born on June 28, 1940, Muhammad Yunus entered the world as young Muslim boy in a country where not many individuals see economic prosperity. As a developing nation, Bangladesh ranks 43rd in terms of nominal gross domestic product, and is one of the largest textile exporters in the world.
Yunus was lucky enough to travel during his childhood and receive his degree from Chittagong College, as well as his BA and MA in economics from Dhaka University. He went on to receive the Nobel Prize in 2006 for his work in developing the concept of Microfinance, as well as his founding of the grassroots Grameen Bank.
Since 2006, he has founded Yunus Social Business, a Philanthropic Venture Fund aimed towards turning donations into investments in sustainable social business. These investments provide employment, education, clean water, energy, and healthcare to over 3 million people around the globe. Through this organization, Yunus has expanded his concept to developed countries. He states that many of the economic problems faced in any given country are similar around the globe to a certain degree.
Yunus Social Business has centers at multiple universities globally. He hopes that by reaching young minds, he can spread his message of the importance of creating businesses that change the world. His idea that if poor people were given a proper start and encouragement, their natural entrepreneurship would flourish, is a prime example of this sort of business initiative.
At 76 years of age, Yunus is still passionate about his message. He has faced extreme political criticism in Bangladesh, despite the fact that the Grameen Bank today has nine million borrowers and has a repayment rate of 99.6%.
He maintains his stance that people working in entrepreneurial settings work for a sense of satisfaction on top of their earnings. Yunus’ refusal to succumb to the backlash and criticisms from his native country depicts his strong will; a characteristic that may explain the reason he has been so successful in every aspect of his life
This week we celebrate 12 years since Yunus was awarded the Nobel Prize. It is evident through his work in recent years that he has no plans of stopping any time soon. We look to him as an incredible example of intelligence, peacekeeping, and courage in the face of judgment.