Social exclusion, destitution, poverty. Not only people in the developing world and emerging countries have these problems. They are also increasingly prevalent among us – in Central and Eastern Europe. 17% of Europeans don’t have the means to meet their most basic needs”, according to a recent statement by the EU Commission. We are of the firm conviction that new and innovative approaches are needed to take this situation firmly in hand – in the interest of disadvantaged people and to create an economically and politically stable Europe that is prepared to face the future.
Social business is an economic concept developed primarily by the Nobel Prize Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, and stands for innovative business models aimed at tackling social problems with entrepreneurial means.
The Social Business Tour 2010, which took place under the patronage of Prof. Yunus, created a powerful initiative for a long term social business initiative in Central and Eastern Europe and made a significant contribution to the 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion.
The Social Business Tour 2010 was a joint initiative of ERSTE Foundation, Erste Group, good.bee , The Grameen Creative Lab and the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection, Republic of Austria.
From May to October 2010, the Tour offered information and encouraged the sustainable initiatives of social enterprises in six capitals from East and Central Europe (Belgrade, Bratislava, Bucharest, Budapest, Prague, Vienna), where social exclusion, destitution and poverty continue to pose serious problems. Prof. Muhammad Yunus presented his Social Business concept, and together we tried to inspire the creation of local social enterprises.
In response to the Tour, many entrepreneurs from these countries have embraced the concept, and are now in the process of developing their own social businesses. Additionally, as a direct result of The Social Business Tour 2010, several private sector companies in CEE have stepped forward to offer their support to Social Enterprises.