The second annual meeting of the Social Business Conference was held at the Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI) in Lugano, Switzerland, on May 15 2013, with the participation of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Muhammad Yunus, as keynote speaker. For the second consecutive year we successfully had a full house with over 400 participants crowding the Aula Magna of USI.
The event was sponsored by the City of Lugano, Università della Svizzera Italiana, CP Start Up, Canton Ticino, Switcher, BSI Group, and Social Business Earth (SBE). The theme of this year’s conference was “Social Business: An Innovative Economic Model to Develop the Potential of Each Human Being.”
Participants had the choice of registering for the Full Day Program, which included a Social Business Workshop followed by lunch and the conference; or for the Social Business Conference alone which started at 6.00 pm and was followed by a cocktail.
The round table was moderated by journalist Andrea Vosti and panelists included:
Professor Muhammad Yunus, Founder, Grameen Bank; Chairman, Yunus Centre
Ms. Giovanna Melandri, President, Uman Foundation
Dr. Thomas Stelzer, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations
Ms. Samantha Caccamo, Founder & CEO, Social Business Earth
Samantha Caccamo, Founder & CEO, Social Business Earth, speaking at the Social Business Conference 2013, in Lugano, Switzerland
The event was organized by Social Business Earth with the objective to spread the concept of social business in Switzerland and Europe, motivate people to create a social business of their own and encourage partnerships among the private, public and social sectors to implement social business projects and solve social problems locally.
The social business model of Professor Yunus is in simple words a non-dividend company created to solve a social issue. It does not foresee a return to the investors (“non-dividend”). Once the original investment has been recouped, all profits are reinvested in the social business in order to achieve the social objective. It is on this very principle that Dr. Yunus created some fifty social businesses in Bangladesh in addition to the renowned Grameen Bank, for which he jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.
Social business is still not widely spread in Switzerland and the rest of the world. The goal through the Social Business Conference, which is held annually, is to get more people involved in this new kind of capitalism that emphasizes altruism rather than selfishness, sustainability rather than the mere accumulation of wealth and greed.
The integration of teaching, research and practice on social business in Academia is essential in order to teach young people that entrepreneurship and economic tools can also be used to solve social problems through sustainable business models. Currently, capitalism is interpreted too narrowly as a model to maximize profit. In view of this SBE is already engaged with the Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI) and the University of Zurich in offering a series of Social Business Workshops on social business through a collaboration with the faculty of Economics.
The Social Business Conference aims to bring a real benefit to society and it is only the beginning of a series of future initiatives aimed at improving the living conditions of the poorest populations on Earth, reducing the gap between rich and poor through social business.
From left Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; Claudio Blotti, Director, Division of Social Action and Family Affairs, Department of Health and Social Affairs, Canton Ticino; Samantha Caccamo, Founder & CEO, Social Business Earth; Edo Carrasco, social entrepreneur; Sara Grignola Mammoli, Scientific Collaborator, Department of Health and Social Affairs, Canton Ticino; Renato Pacini, Associate Partner, Social Business Earth
On May 16, 2013, the day following the Social Business Conference, an agreement was signed between Social Business Earth and the Department of Health and Social Affairs, Canton Ticino, for the creation of the first social business to foster youth employment and integration in the Ticino area.
Samantha Caccamo is the founder and CEO of Social Business Earth, the first social business in Switzerland created following Prof. Yunus’ principles. The company’s mission is to spread and implement social business in the world.