Social Business

The term “social business” was established by M. Yunus (2010), and he defined it as a business to solve a social problem. Then, why do we need to conduct social business as NPO?

Business as a tool for peacebuilding

We believe that social business has a role in promoting mutual help among communities.

In Sri Lanka, there are many varieties of identities based on ethnicity and religion. The protracted civil war could make clear boundaries among identity groups. For the post-war period of Sri Lanka, it is necessary to cooperate beyond the differences of identity groups

Business can be a common value beyond the differences of ethnicity and religion. Once an armed conflict occurs, people can not engage in any business. Rather, it will be sure to bring disadvantages in cost to all of the people. In contrast, when we share the advantage of a business in a community with many people in the community, the business will be a common value for the community. 

To maintain the value, we need to enhance mutual help to each other beyond identity groups’ differences. When people with different identities work together at a place, it is inevitable for them to communicate and cooperate. The communication will create a space to well-understand each other and mutually help in their communication. Thus, we strongly believe that social business based on the community has a role in promoting sustainable peace. 

 

Business as a factor to create sustainability of the activity

We believe that social business has a role to make projects sustainable.

For project sustainability, even non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and NPOs are required to include a perspective of the business. The conventional NGO and NPO model tended to rely on grants for supporting charity activities of NGO and NPO from governments or charitable donation from sponsors. If the duration of grants or the donations is expired, NGO and NPO cannot sustain their projects even if they are any contributive project to society.

In reality, NGO and NPO activities could cause a catastrophic situation to society if the officers suddenly cease their projects for financial problems. Their projects are certainly necessary for people receiving the projects’ advantage because they rely on NGO and NPO support. Even the local staff employed by the NGO or the NPO could lose their job simultaneously. The most important thing that we have to do is to sustain our project to protect the local people’s lives. Thus, we strongly believe that social business based on community becomes a factor in creating the activity’s sustainability.


Business as a promoter to make a partnership

We believe that social business has a promoter to make a partnership.

Businesses can change the conventional structure of international cooperation. The conventional model of NGO and NPO activity tended to maintain the donor-recipient structure, although they have been making an effort to change the structure. The donor-recipient structure is, to some extent, efficient in a short-term project but can not be sustained in a long-term project because of the financial problem. Additionally, the structure could, intentionally or unintentionally, mitigate the motivation of the recipient of the project of NGO and NPO.

Business can promote the consolidated partnership between NGO or NPO and local people. In MLL activities, the local people are our partners who cooperate to achieve our common goals. We respect their motivation and ideas and then support them so they can become independent of our activities. Besides, such a social business can provide advantages for the project-operating people and others who do not directly participate in the MLL activities. We can share the MLL activities’ advantages with other projects, such as scholarship projects and disaster relief projects. We strongly believe that social business can promote to make a partnership among people.

Mother Land Lanka

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E-mail: motherlandlanka.org[at]gmail.com