When i first thought of planet why as a sustainability option for project why I had never heard of social enterprise and social business. It was simply a gut feeling that propelled me in this direction and with every step I walked, it just felt right.
From day one, it has been I must admit, an arduous journey. And yet I knew it was one that had to be made as the destination held its own pot of gold.
Two unrelated occurrences came my way a few days back : one was the gift of a book and the other a simple line in an email. The book was by Creating a World without Poverty by Nobel Laureate Mohammed Yunus, and the line in the email came from a young professional riled over the injustice she saw around her. It simply said: the other way to look at this is to assume that economic prosperity once established in a quorum population will ignite a string of social entrepreneurship. but that’s a wait and watch game. Strange synchronicity.
Mohammed Yunus’s views echoes what i have always felt and could not express. The world of philantrophy in which I have been always seemed to fall short of something. It was obvious to me that it could not survive the test of time. Business had always been an alien land where I never felt comfortable. The when you get your maximum, everybody will get their maximum often thrown at you by those holding capitalism at hart, was nothing short of galling. There had to be a via media.
The via media solutions that one saw around us also fell short: state run programmes, NGOs depending on donors to survive let alone grow, CSR initiatives that seemed out of place. The common denominator for all of these was that they espoused a state whereby one group remained a donor and the other a recipient. They all celebrated an unequal world.
Mohammed Yunus’s view tilts the balance in order to establish an equal world by redefining capitalism or let us say by adding a new dimension to the words capitalism. Businesses run with the same efficiency not to line deeper and deeper pockets but to change things and make the world a more even playing field.
The idea of Planet Why stemmed form a real need, that of ensuring pwhy lives on. As it slowly took shape it started looking like what is called a social business. A sound investment option in more ways than one. And though the road is still long and the journey far form over somehow I see light at the end of the tunnel.
So I will end by quoting Mohammed Yunus: Lets get serious about social business entrepreneurs. They can brighten up this gloomy world.