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Kick-off of The Social Business Tour 2010 on 11 and 12 May

12. January 2012

The Social Business Tour 2010 is a joint initiative by ERSTE Foundation, Erste Group, good.bee, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection, and The Grameen Creative Lab.

About 1,200 participants are expected to join The Social Business Tour 2010 kick off on 11 and 12 May 2010 in the twin cities of Vienna and Bratislava. The programme will feature an all-day Social Business Lab and a large Social Business networking event in Vienna on the evening of 12 May, where Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank and patron of the Social Business Tour, will present his Social Business concept. The Social Business Tour 2010 Prague (9 and 10 July), Belgrade (end of September), Budapest (early October) and Bucharest (28 and 29 October) will provide information to various social groups (entrepreneurs and investors, foundations and NGOs, representatives of the public sector, people involved in culture, arts and the media) on the Social Business concept with the aim of developing ideas for Social Business models to solve region-specific social problems. The projects and initiatives developed in this context are to be supported and promoted after the end of the tour.

Social Business describes innovative business models; determined to provide a solution for social problems with entrepreneurial means. Social Business companies maximise the benefit for the people and not the profit – this means that the profit remains with the companies, and is reinvested to further their social goals. “The Social Business Tour 2010 will encourage the establishment of new Social Business companies. This is not only an important step toward social equity and sustainability in Europe, but also a contribution to our battle to eradicate poverty globally by 2030,” says Muhammad Yunus. The idea for the Social Business Tour 2010 was born in May 2009, when the founder of the Grameen Bank came to Vienna to gather information on Die Zweite Sparkasse and good.bee, the two social banking projects of ERSTE Foundation and Erste Group.

Entrepreneurship against Poverty and Social Exclusion

Social exclusion, destitution and poverty not only affect people in emerging and developing countries, but also an increasing number of Europeans. According to the EU Commission, 17% of EU citizens have such limited resources that they cannot afford the basics. Social Business, a business concept developed by Muhammad Yunus, is a promising tool to help improve the living situation of socially disadvantaged people in Central and Eastern Europe and to positively impact the necessary social change. Social Business stands for innovative business models aimed at tackling social problems with entrepreneurial solutions; all profits are reinvested in order to serve this purpose. Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, which offers micro credits to the poor, served as a model for the Social Business concept and has inspired numerous projects in various business areas all over the world.

 

Interdisciplinary Workshops and Networking Event

The Social Business Labs on 11 May offer interdisciplinary workshops to discuss Social Business concepts, to identify country-specific social problems and to develop ideas on how to solve them. The key part of the large Social Business Networking Event on 12 May is a panel discussion with Muhammad Yunus, Andreas Treichl (chairman of ERSTE Foundation and CEO of Erste Group Bank AG), Rudolf Hundstorfer (Austrian Federal Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection), Viera Tomanová (Slovakian Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Family), Hans Reitz (founder of The Grameen Creative Lab) and young people from Bratislava and Vienna. Anyone who is interested in participating in inspiring meetings and discussions on Social Business can register on the official tour website www.socialbusinesstour.com for the Networking Event until 19 April and for the Social Business Labs until 26 April. The number of participants is limited for both events.

The Social Business Idea 2010 Competition

The Social Business Idea 2010 competition is held during the Social Business Tour and consists of six national preliminaries and a European final. It calls for innovative business ideas that offer sustainable solutions to social problems in Central and Eastern European countries. For detailed information on the Social Business Tour 2010 and the Social Business Idea 2010 competition check the official tour website:www.socialbusinesstour.com.

The Social Business Tour 2010 is an initiative by ERSTE Foundation, Erste Group, good.bee, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection, and The Grameen Creative Lab within the framework of the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion 2010. Slovenská Sporiteľňa is the partner and sponsor of the Social Business Days in Bratislava and Vienna.

Contact

ERSTE Foundation, Communications
Maribel Königer, Tel. +43 (0) 50100 15453, e-mail: maribel.koeniger@erstestiftung.org
Jovana Trifunovic, Tel. +43 (0) 50100 15844, e-mail: jovana.trifunovic@erstestiftung.org
Friedrichstraße 10, 1010 Vienna, Austria