Sanitary Napkin and Drinking Water Social Businesses Launched at the 375th Social Business Design Lab

20th October, 2016

Sanitary Napkin and Drinking Water Social Businesses Launched at the 375th Social Business Design Lab

Yunus Centre Press Release (20 October, 2016)

The 375th Social Business Design Lab organized by Yunus Centre took place on 20th October 2016 at the Grameen Bank Auditorium with nearly 160 participants from national and international organizations attending. The Design Lab was chaired by Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus.

Two open social business projects also presented at the design lab today. Mr Ashraful Hasan, Managing Director of Grameen Fashion & Fabrics presented the project Grameen Sanitary Napkin : An Automatic Production Line. This project aims to address the menstrual hygiene issue in the country especially among the low income group with cost competitive sanitary napkin products. The company intends to scale up from its current manual production to an automatic production line which will produce 600,000 pieces per day compared to the current 3,000 pieces per day. At this rate the company would be able produce 150 million pieces per month that would address 15% of total market demand in the country.

Second open project was presented by Mr Biplob Chakma of ASHIKA Manabik Unnyan Kendra.  The project, Shuvolong (Supply of Safe Drinking Water), is a joint venture between ASHIKA Manabik Unnyan Kendra and Grameen Telecom Trust(GTT). The project aims to address drinking water crisis in the hilly district of Rangamati. It is to be noted that this is the second social business joint venture between ASHIKA and GTT. The first one facilitates mushroom production involving indigenous women in the same region of the country.

There was also a guest project on social business, Vila Brasil, presented by Ms. Marina Lourenço of Brazil. Her project aims to educate local communities about social business and its impact though workshops. The project came through Yunus Centre at AIT Thailand where Ms Marina has been working as researcher.

Four new Nobin Udyokta business plans were presented at today's Lab. All Nobin Udyokta businesses, presented at the Design Lab are the children of Grameen Bank borrowers’ families. These four plans included Mayer Dua Peyara Khamar by Mim Sardar. The next plan was p resented by Mst. Kohinur Begum for her Surma Cloth and Tailors. Md. Khalid Hasan presented M/S Trust Poultry Farm project. The last one was presented by Md. Hashim for his Hashim Handicrafts.

Among the foreign participants were Managing Director and Chief of Administration of Grameen Credit Agricole, Mr Eric Campos and Mr Pascal Webanck were present at the design lab as special guests. Grameen Credit Agricole is a joint venture microcredit institution between Grameen and French Banking Giant Credit Agricole and currently active in around 30 countries. Grameen Credit Agricole also operates a social business fund. Guests were also present from Bolivia, Brazil, Zimbabwe, USA, and France.

All business plans were presented and discussed in detail. Those were then presented in groups for further review. All projects were approved for funding by their groups. The projects are joint ventures with Grameen social business fund and their progress will be monitored on .

Since the Labs began in January 2013, over 8,865 projects have been presented in the last 375 Lab programs, of which 8,859 projects have been approved for equity funding investments ranging from taka one lakh to five lakh for Nobin Udyokta projects.

Professor Yunus thanked the participants for the innovative social businesses and noted that it was exciting that so many ideas were now business reality. Professor Yunus also invited participants to join next Social Business Design Lab which will take place on November 22, 2016.

Photo Caption  One: Investments into six social businesses including four New Entrepreneur(NU) projects were announced on Thursday at the 375th Social Business Design Lab. The New Entrepreneurs, children of Grameen Bank borrowers are seen in the photo with Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus.

Photo Caption  Three: Participants of the 375th Social Business Design Lab are seen with the Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus. The 375th Social Business Design Lab organized by Yunus Centre took place today on 20th October 2016 at the Grameen Bank Auditorium.

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