Author: Brody Smith
Muhammad Yunus goes by a few names.
Whether you know him as the father of microfinance, the banker to the poor, the ’06 Nobel Peace Prize winner or the founder of Grameen Bank, you know he’s somebody who has made the world better.
Yunus was a highly anticipated speaker at this year’s Global Youth Leaders Summit held in China. I was there representing Bugisu Project and shared our idea with youth-delegates from 28 countries.
For one hour, we listened to Yunus’ captivating words of experience, humble advice and answers to our many questions.
These were my three takeaways.
Get life ready, not job ready
The world’s job landscape is volatile and unpredictable. With redundancy, automation and internationalisation, who knows what the world will need from you in 20 years. Be smart about it.
Some skills are transferrable, multi-faceted and robust. Others are pigeon-holing and rigid.
Compare, for example, knowing how to make a brick versus knowing how make it useful in novel ways.
Every business can create a parallel business to do good
This idea reminded me of something I heard from Tom Dawkins, cofounder of StartSomeGood and a leader in the Australian social enterprise space.
Dawkins spoke at a social enterprise panel discussion at UNSW back in 2017 and his words have stuck with me ever since.
He said “eventually, every enterprise will be a social enterprise.”
With growing expectations on employee wellbeing, supply-chain transparency and social and environmental responsibility, I reckon it’s true – the triple bottom line will soon be the core focus of every business.
Study what the big companies are doing and do the opposite
Banks only lent to the rich, so Yunus lent to the poor.
Banks only lent to men, so Yunus lent to women.
Not all large institutions are bad, but this is definitely an interesting strategy to identify social business opportunities, particularly in slow-moving, antiquated industries.