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Nobel Prize Winner: Your Business Should Help Others

To end world hunger, don't give away money. Just start a business, says Muhammad Yunus.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus at a special summit hosted by the University of Salford on May 18, 2013.

There's an old adage that goes, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

It's a principle that can also be applied to solving unemployment, said Muhammad Yunus, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and banker.

Speaking at the London School of Economics, Yunus explained how giving money to the poor might help in the short-term, but is not the best way to solve poverty because it can only be used once. By creating social businesses, however, entrepreneurs can create jobs for others, providing them with the means to support themselves.

"Capitalism is about options, so shouldn't people have the option to start a social business or a profit-maximizing business or both? You have to use your creative power to make it happen," he said. "Nothing is beyond the capacity of human beings. Every time I see a problem I think, how do I create a business to solve the problem?"

The same thinking applies to recent graduates as well. Rather than complain about a shortage of jobs, he said they should just start a business to make them. 

"If you change the mindset of enough people around the world, it could mean the end of poverty, unemployment, and the need for welfare globally," Yunus said.

Yunus has founded about 60 social businesses to help the world's poor as well as Gamreen Bank, which currently has 8.5 million customers in Bangladesh and 12,000 in New York City. 

Last updated: May 28, 2013


Jana Kasperkevic is a graduate of Baruch College, City University of New York, where she earned a bachelors degree in Journalism and Political Science. She covers start-ups, small businesses, and entrepreneurship for Inc. Her work has appeared in The Village Voice, InvestmentNews, Business Insider, and Houston Chronicle, among others. She lives in Brooklyn.

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