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Grameen Launches a New Bangladesh Joint Venture with BASF

Grameen and its managing director (Nobel Peace Prize-winner) Muhammad Yunus, known for the Grameen Bank, recently launched a new partnership with German conglomerate BASF to create a joint social business venture called BASF Grameen Ltd., to be based in Bangladesh. BASF Grameen Ltd. is being modeled as a “social business”, whose purpose will be to improve the health and provide related business opportunities for poor members of Bangladeshi society (reminiscent of the base of the pyramid framework) through the distribution of dietary supplement sachets and impregnated mosquito nets.

 According to Dr. Jürgen Hambrecht, BASF’s Chairman of the Board:  

Our social business joint venture is intended to empower people to take part successfully in business life,” said Hambrecht. “The more people who do so – be they business partners, customers or employees – the better the economic and social development of a country and its population. Investing in people’s entrepreneurial skills is therefore part of corporate responsibility

The new venture is not meant to be a charity though, as it plans on covering its expenses, recouping initial investment costs, and then re-investing its profits.

Social business is an excellent way of creating value from values, and BASF is seizing that opportunity,” said Hambrecht. “Our market-oriented joint venture will provide long-term help in addressing social challenges in Bangladesh. In addition, it will allow BASF to explore new markets and customer groups.

This is not the first social business joint venture between a Grameen Group company and a foreign multinational (e.g. Grameen Danone) designed to ameliorate the lives of the poor in Bangladesh as well as other developing countries. Ah, if only Ayn Rand was around to enjoy this.

Image: Courtesy of BASF

Written by Amiel Blajchman

Amiel is the founder of the Globalis Group, an organization whose motto is "combining action and thought for a sustainable world." His experience includes working with the Canadian government on greenspace projects, sustainable development programs and on policy documents on issues as diverse as climate change, sustainable development, and the environmental and social impacts of transportation. He is listed on the UN’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory’s list of GHG experts, and has sat on the Canadian Environmental Certifications Board’s Greenhouse Gas Verification and Validation Certification committee.

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