I wanted to find a solution to a problem, and I wanted to do whatever it takes to end that problem.
In the mid-1970s, Bangladesh was wracked with poverty and famine. Greedy money lenders victimized local villagers who wanted to start small businesses. In one village, Muhammad Yunus counted forty-two people who needed just twenty-seven dollars to break out of poverty.
So then an idea came to my mind: if I give these twenty-seven dollars to all these forty-two people, they can return the money to the money lender, so they'll be free. And that's what exactly ended. And the happiness that they brought to them caught me in. And I ask myself the question: if you can make so many people so happy with such a small amount of money, why shouldn't you do it more?
Since that first bet, the bank Muhammad Yunus started has made nearly five billion dollars in loans. It's a model that has been copied all over the world, spawning a movement known as "microfinance."
People are demonstrably better off in the world today by virtue of that simple insight. The small, unsecured loans can really make a difference.
Microfinance during the past twenty-five years has demonstrated that millions and millions of people can participate in society in a normal way.
In 2006, Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize: testimony to the role of a new kind of change agent, the social entrepreneur.
Social entrepreneurs like Muhammad Yunus see opportunities where other people see hopeless failures. They see potential where other people see tragic consequences. They see a future that others can't even begin to imagine.
In this moment in history, where government has, at least in some places, has failed to provide basic goods and services, the things that societies need to really allow individuals to thrive. Social entrepreneurs are tackling those really big problems: Problems that reach beyond microfinance, such as educational opportunity, children's health, housing, clean water, climate change.
And the problem is if you look at what the current business, organizations and governments are doing in this sort of space, it really doesn't add up to a coherent solution of the scale that we need. Therefore, I think entrepreneurs are going to be profoundly necessary, because here's the people who used to break up the concrete.
Most people have to see to believe, but I think that social entrepreneurs believe, and then they see. Social entrepreneurs have seen that end result before even got started.
And they've done so all over the world. In Mozambique, Blaise Judja-Sato transformed health care by providing reliable medical services to millions of villagers who have never previously been reached. In India, Bunker Roy's Barefoot College teaches people with no prior training to build and install solar electric technologies. And in the United States, Dorothy Stoneman has shown how young people can change their lives and their communities through job training and education.
而他們已在世界各地都做到了。在莫三比克，Blaise Judja-Sato改善醫療照護，透過提供可靠的醫療服務給數百萬以前從未被接觸過的村民們。在印度，Bunker Roy的赤腳學院教導沒受過事先訓練的人們建造及安裝太陽能電力技術。在美國，Dorothy Stoneman已證明年輕人可以怎麼透過工作訓練及教育改變他們的生活以及他們的社區。
We had three hundred abandoned buildings in East Harlem where I lived. We had hundreds, maybe thousands of young people standing on the corners with nothing to do, and lots of homeless people. So I looked at that. I thought there's something wrong with this picture. Someone should hire these young people to rebuild these buildings and create housing for the homeless people, and that's what we set out to do.
What's those powerful force you can bring to bear is a really big idea, but only if it's in the hands of a really good entrepreneur, it's not combination that changes the world.
Today, thousands of social entrepreneurs are tackling a range of problems in all corners of the globe, but until recently, few of them saw themselves as part of a larger movement.
Some twenty years ago, social entrepreneurs were working alone, fundamentally they had no idea many times that other social entrepreneur existed. They had an experience of essentially going against stream. Very hard. These are very tough people, but still, alone.
I think social entrepreneurs have always existed, but because they haven't always been defined as social entrepreneurs, because we've not always recognized them as such, they've had no collective identity. They have been lone pioneers.
And now what you see in the world are a whole framework of supports that are coming up, coalescing very very quickly to say, "Hey, social entrepreneurship is very viable."
Oxford recruits about three hundred highly talented MBA students each year. Students want to know how to change the world. They want to know how the skills they learn in business school can help them change the world.
When you see social entrepreneurs, regardless of how many problems and challenges that they have, they don't give up. They just push forward and they push forward, and that's inspiring to me.
Today, Oxford is just one of the many universities teaching social entrepreneurship and providing homes where practicing entrepreneurs can meet and learn from each other.
The point of supporting the social entrepreneurship movement is to create a home for those people to make them less maverick and more of a movement.
The more we wire the field together from local to national to global means that ideas go from Bangladesh to the US and Brazil, Poland to South Africa. That wasn't happening ten years ago. That's a function of the increased productivity at the field.
I think the key thing that we have to come back to time and time again is these entrepreneurs cannot do this on their own. They need support. They need support from funders clearly, but they need strategic partnerships with that mainstream business, and they need the support of government and policymakers.
What's so exciting to be alive at this moment, as a social entrepreneur connected to thousands of social entrepreneurs around the globe, is that within all of us there's this growing movement,
and that there's a hopefulness in starting to look at the problems we have as our problems.
My hope for the future is that by virtue of the stories that we tell about reasons for optimism, by virtue of the small pieces of success, we build some big pieces of success. Said in a decade's time, we can say this movement began with one very demonstrable success story, and that was called microfinance. But very quickly it built to series of other success stories, and look at the effect they've had on the world.
- 「逃離、爆發」- Break Out
In one village, Muhammad Yunus counted forty-two people who needed just twenty-seven dollars to "break out" of poverty.
- 「吸引到、逮到、抓住」- Catch In
And the happiness that they brought to them "caught me in".
- 「景況較佳、情況較好的」- Better Off
People are demonstrably better off in the world today by virtue of that simple insight.
- 「透過」- By Virtue Of
People are demonstrably better off in the world today "by virtue of" that simple insight.