UNH Hosts Statewide Social Business and Microfinance Forum; Innovation Challenge

UNH Hosts Statewide Social Business and Microfinance Forum; Innovation Challenge

Nobel Laureate and microfinance pioneer Muhammad Yunus will be the keynote speaker Sept. 30.
Thursday, September 12, 2013

Muhammad Yunus

The University of New Hampshire will welcome Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate and pioneer of the microfinance industry, to campus this fall as the keynote speaker for the  New Hampshire Social Business and Microfinance Forum and the first Social Business Innovation Challenge.

The University of New Hampshire will host a statewide New Hampshire Social Business and Microfinance Forum and the Social Business Innovation Challenge for New Hampshire college students, community members, and social entrepreneurs Monday, Sept. 30, 2013.

Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate and pioneer of the microfinance industry, will give the keynote address “Social Business – The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs.” Part of the UNH President's Distinguished Speakers Series, the events are being hosted by UNH, and organized by the Paul College of Business and Economics and the Carsey Institute, both at UNH.

“UNH has long been distinguished by its strong sense of responsibility for the well-being of our beautiful state, and a commitment to serving the public good. As one of America’s land-grant research universities, we aim to contribute to a vibrant economy in our state, while responding energetically and effectively to the new social and environmental challenges posed by the 21st century. Through many initiatives, UNH aligns its strengths with the needs of our state, our nation and our world,” UNH President Mark Huddleston said.

The Social Business Innovation Challenge asks college students, community members, and social entrepreneurs from across the state to find innovative, business-oriented solutions to pressing social and environmental issues at the state, national or global level. Social businesses aim to be market-based and fund operations and growth through earned revenues rather than donations, and have a primary social, rather than financial, objective.

The Social Business Innovation Challenge has two tracks, one for current or aspiring New Hampshire social entrepreneurs and community members, and one for current students enrolled at a New Hampshire college or university, as well as summer 2013 graduates. Winners in each track will receive cash prizes to help fund their ideas, as well as the chance to meet Yunus.

The registration deadline for both tracks is Sept. 13. Final submissions are due Sept. 20. For more information and to enter, visit http://www.unh.edu/socialbusiness/social-business-innovation-challenge.

The Sept. 30 events are free and open to the public and begin at 8 a.m. with the final round of the Social Business Innovation Challenge in the Piscataqua and Squamscott rooms at UNH Holloway Commons. Yunus’s keynote address and the presentation of awards begin at 10 a.m. in the Granite State Room of the Memorial Union Building. Only the seventh person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (2006), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2009), and the Congressional Gold Medal (2013), Yunus is best known for his pioneering work as the founder of the Grameen Bank, as the “father of microcredit,” and more broadly for the movement to create social businesses. Registration is required due to limited seating capacity. Please register at http://www.unh.edu/socialbusiness/agenda-and-registration.

Prior to the event, Net Impact UNH, a student organization that equips individuals to use the power of business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world, will host a showing of “Bonsai People: The Vision of Muhammad Yunus” Tuesday, Sept. 10, in the Memorial Union Building Theater II. The movie starts at 6:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Following the movie, Net Impact UNH will host a discussion about social business at UNH and a brainstorming workshop for those competing in the social innovation challenge. The workshop is one of several planned to assist competitors. For more information on the workshops, visit http://www.unh.edu/socialbusiness/.

In addition, UNH has launched “A Challenge for the Challenge,” to raise funds for additional cash prizes for the student and community tracks. The crowd-funding effort has raised $2,300 so far. For more information and to donate, visit giving.unh.edu/socialbusiness.