Category Archives: Corporate Social Responsibility/Social Business

Social business enters restaurant sector

Social business enters restaurant sector

Nobel laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus, middle, chairman of Yunus Centre, and Miki Watanabe, right, chief executive officer of Watami Group, shake hands along with Masaharu Okada, left, executive director of Grameen Creative Lab at Kyushu University in Japan, at a deal signing ceremony in Dhaka yesterday. Yunus Centre and Watami Group will set up restaurants in Bangladesh. Photo: Yunus Centre

Star Business Report

Japan’s leading food and beverage brand Watami Group yesterday signed a joint venture agreement with the Yunus Centre to establish a social business in the restaurant sector in Bangladesh.

A number of restaurants would be set up across the country under the joint venture that aims to produce quality food through its outlets.

Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, chairman of Yunus Centre, and Miki Watanabe, chief executive officer of Watami Group, signed the agreement at Yunus Centre in Dhaka.

The objective of the social business joint venture is to create jobs, provide healthy food and promote local cuisine and training for food service professionals, said the Nobel laureate.

The social business pioneer also said the restaurants would not be only set up in the capital city, but also in many other cities across the country.

The Japanese company will provide training and management skills to produce quality dishes at affordable prices in order to set up the first restaurant in Bangladesh by 2014, said Watanabe.

He also said the venture could generate about 3,000 jobs. He also showed interest to replicate the social business venture in other markets where his company operates, if its Bangladesh’s venture becomes successful.

The joint venture aims to spread the business in the rural parts of Bangladesh as well and also setting up training schools for young people to become professional chefs for both domestic and international employment. As a social business, neither Watami Group nor Yunus Centre will be receiving any profit from this joint venture.

The Yunus Centre is the global hub for all social businesses around the world, including microcredit, health care services and environment.

Watami Group is the top food and beverage brand in Japan. The company has grown into 600 restaurants in Japan and 30 other outlets overseas in a short span of 25 years.


Al-Arafah solar panels for poor

Al-Arafah solar panels for poor
Author / Source : STAFF REPORTER

DHAKA, Nov 2: Al-Arafah Islami Bank Ltd donated free solar panels to the poor of Kolatia in Keraniganj.

The bank distributed solar panels among the poor families, who have school-going children, of Kolatia recently. Previously, the bank distributed solar panels in Hobiganj and Sirajganj district. Director of the bank Md Enayet Ullah was present as the chief guest at the programme.

Managing director of the bank Ekramul Hoque, deputy general manager of Palli Bidyut Samiti Nurul Amin Bhuyian, vice-president of the bank Md Habib Ullah, vice-presidents Aminul Islam Bhuyian and Abed Ahmed Khan and first assistant vice-president Jalal Ahmed were present. Ekramul Hoque said, “Al-Arafah Islami Bank is conducting various corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities since it was founded.”

Govt to enact law on social business

Govt to enact law on social business
Asif Showkat

The government is likely to form a five-member committee for formulating a social business law to regulate non-government organisations (NGOs).

The body would be formed next week to oversee the social business of the NGOs like Grameen Bank, aiming at preventing people from being deceived.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith asked the banking division for identifying a convener and four members of the committee which would be sent to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for approval.

Banking secretary Shafiqur Rahman Patwary told daily sun last week that they would form a five member committee to formulate a law on social business.

“We have already got information about capital, foreign investment and interest of 48 organisations,” he added.He also said that interest charged on credits to the poor should be monitored under the law.

Grameen Bank is now being regulated under the Grameen Bank Ordinance 1983 and the government owns 3 percent of its shares.

The secretary also said several subsidiary organisations of Grameen Bank are doing the same kind of business but none is regulated by any law.

The banking division has already received information about 48 subsidiary companies of Grameen Bank including Grameenphone, Gra-meen Udyog, Grameen Dannon Food Limited, Grameen Kal-yan, Grameen Tele-com Trust and Grameen Shakti.

Information on these aspects may help prepare the law on operation of these social businesses, said a senior official of the banking division.

Huawei sets up computer laboratory for CRP

Huawei sets up computer laboratory for CRP
Star Business Desk

Huawei Technologies (Bangladesh) Ltd has built a computer lab for CRP (Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed) as part of its corporate social responsibility.

The computer lab will assist creating employment by providing training to the disabled at the CRP.

ASM Feroz, a lawmaker and whip of Bangladesh Parliament, inaugurated the lab as chief guest.

Zhang Xianyi, Chinese ambassador in Dhaka, Wonder Wang, chief executive officer of Huawei Technologies Bangladesh Ltd, Valerie A Taylor, CRP founder and coordinator, were also present at the ceremony.

Wonder Wang briefed about the Huawei’s CSR activities in Bangladesh and the world. He also vowed to continue CSR activities.

Huawei began its operations in Bangladesh in 1998. Over the years, the company has become one of the country’s leading ICT and telecom solution providers.

Grameen Healthcare teams up with Uniqlo

Grameen Healthcare teams up with Uniqlo

Prof Muhammad Yunus, chairman of Grameen Healthcare Trust, and Yukihiro Nitta, managing director of Uniqlo Social Business Bangladesh, sign a joint venture agreement to produce high-quality clothing in Bangladesh as a social business at a ceremony at the Grameen headquarters in Dhaka yesterday. Photo: Yunus Centre Star Business Desk

Grameen Healthcare Trust yesterday went into a joint venture agreement with Uniqlo Social Business Bangladesh Ltd, the social business division of Japan’s leading clothing retailer Uniqlo.

The venture aims to establish a new social business in the field of ‘functional clothing’, with a focus on healthcare, for the poor in Bangladesh, said a statement.

Professor Muhammad Yunus, chairman of Grameen Healthcare, and Yukihiro Nitta, managing director of Uniqlo Social Business Bangladesh, signed the deal at the Grameen headquarters in Dhaka.

The company will be named Grameen Uniqlo, in line with a memorandum of understanding signed with the Yunus Centre in July this year.

The company, a social business, will return the principal amount to the investors, but nothing beyond that.

Grameen Uniqlo is currently conducting test marketing in Tangail and Gazipur.

The objective of the venture is to improve people’s daily lives by offering high-quality products at affordable prices, which can help alleviate health and sanitation problems and provide educational opportunities for the poor.

“We are delighted to partner with Uniqlo to create a social business in clothing. This will start with functional clothing distribution and reusable sanitary napkins, but we hope to expand our services in future,” said Yunus.

Grameen Healthcare Trust is a non-profit organisation established under Trust Act of Bangladesh to provide healthcare services to low-income group in the rural areas.

Uniqlo is a subsidiary of Fast Retailing Co, a Japanese retail renowned for its strategic focus on innovation in production, quality control and distribution.

German company partners with Yunus over textile

German company partners with Yunus over textile

Dr Michael Otto, right, chairman of German company Otto Group, signs an agreement with Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, left, in Hamburg to create a joint venture social business for textiles in Bangladesh. Yunus Centre

Star Business Desk

Germany’s Otto Group has signed a deal with Grameen Trust to start a joint venture in textiles in Bangladesh, Yunus Centre said in a statement yesterday.

Under the deal, Grameen and Otto will jointly set up Grameen Otto Trust and Grameen Otto Textile Company.

Grameen Otto Textile Company will establish a factory in Bangladesh to produce readymade garments for the international market under “socially and ecologically sustainable conditions”.

Otto Chairman Dr Michael Otto and Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus signed the deal at the headquarters of the German company in Hamburg.

Otto Group is a leading family-owned international trading and services corporation with 123 major companies and 50,000 employees in 20 countries.

Otto is the largest mail order company in the world and second only to Amazon to have the largest online marketing.

The signing ceremony was held at the end of Yunus’ visit to several German cities to attend the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Fall of Berlin Wall, Nobel Peace Laureates’ Summit, Vision Summit and Social Business Summit.

“Under the principles of social business, as developed by Prof Yunus, investors cannot receive any profit beyond recouping the actual investment,” the statement said.

“All profits from the joint venture will be used exclusively for reinvestment in the factory to provide modern technologies and humane working conditions,” it said.

It is the first social business partnership in the textile business that aims to apply the highest ecological standards in production.

“Otto Group has committed to establishing more factories in Bangladesh, based on the success of the first factory, and also promote this new social business model to the countries in Africa,” the statement added.

Grameenphone partners with Microsoft

Grameenphone partners with Microsoft

Business Report

Grameenphone Ltd. partnered with Microsoft to use Microsoft Digital Literacy Curriculum in order to increase IT literacy among the rural people across the country. The agreement was signed at the GP head office in Gulshan on Wednesday.

The Digital Literacy Curriculum a unique e-learning module which will educate people on relevant IT skills such as basic computer skills; accessing the internet and world wide web; using productivity applications; understanding computer security and privacy; and leading a digital lifestyle.

All the contents will be in Bengali and is targeted towards the rural students, unemployed youth and women. The curriculum will be disseminated through the over 500 Grameenphone Community Information Centers (GPCIC), and other vehicles of GP CSR initiatives (Info Boat, Alok deep and other educational institutions) located across the country.

Sandi Thomas, General Manager, Communication Sector, Microsoft Asia Pacific, and Feroz Mahmud, Country Manager, Microsoft Bangladesh were present from Microsoft while Grameenphone CEO, Oddvar Hesjedal and Chief Marketing Officer, Arild Kaale. Kazi Monirul Kabir, Chief Communications Officer and Odd-Egil Aasen, Director, Internet Services, Commercial Division of Grameenphone were also present on the occasion.

In the agreement between GP and Microsoft, Microsoft will be the licensor, GP will be the Licensee and CICs & other CSR initiatives (Info boat, Alok Deeps & educational institutions) will be the authorized centers.

Microsoft is providing this digital literacy curriculum including examination free of cost for this initiative. Under the terms of the agreement Microsoft will provide licensed e-Iearning content to each authorized GPCIC, Alok Deep (non-formal school-cum-cyclone shelters), Information Boat (Tothya Tori) and educational institution.

Through e-Iearning, users will be able to access and learn through online digital , literacy resources with the provision for online assessment tests through the GPCIC website. The assessment modules will be certificate tests and successful candidates will be presented with a certificate of their achievement.

Grameenphone strives to deliver information and communication based services in rural community for socio-economic development.