Japanese automobiles giants Toyota Motor and Nissan Motor have expressed their keen interest to launch social businesses after they were convinced by the potential of the new business model.
It came during a visit of Nobel laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus, who developed the social business theory, to Osaka in Japan on Friday and Saturday.
Nobuyori Kodaira, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Company, accompanied by a team of five senior officials met Prof Yunus to discuss Toyota’s participation in social business.
Vincent Valdmann, deputy general manager for corporate planning of Nissan Motor, also visited the founder of Grameen Bank to discuss ways and means to develop social business as a part of their corporate social responsibility programme.
Top wealthy business people of Osaka also met Yunus in two separate meetings to explore the possibilities of investing in social businesses in Japan and elsewhere.
The meeting was organised by an international bank, Yunus Centre said in a statement yesterday.
During the hectic tour of Yunus, a major shopping-mall chain expressed its interest to initiate a discussion to create a joint venture social business.
In a separate event, the Banker to the Poor addressed nearly 1,000 students coming from universities in Osaka and far away universities.
He also addressed a daylong meeting of top women entrepreneurs in Osaka and discussed their participation in social business.
Shuichi Abe, governor of Nagano Prefecture, met Prof Yunus at his hotel to discuss the academic content of a new university he is setting up in his state.
He invited Yunus to help him design the academic and extra-curricular content by joining the concept development committee. He also requested the Bangladeshi economist to accept the position of its chancellor when the university starts functioning.
Abe wants to place social business at the core of the business school.
Kunihiko Ukifune, founder and chief executive of Jikei Group of Companies, which is known for its network of vocational training colleges in 600 disciplines through 52 colleges, also met the Nobel laureate.
The company is also going to publish a number of comic books to popularise Yunus’s concepts of microcredit and social business.
Kaku, a director of the company, informed Prof Yunus that the first book would be launched this year.
Manga is a popular form of comic books in Japan which bring various subjects to Japanese readers, particularly to young people.
Earlier Prof Yunus was in Seoul on invitation of the owner and chairman of SK group to present social business concept to his executives.
SK Group is South Korea’s third-biggest conglomerate with annual revenue of $150 billion.
Before his arrival in Korea, SK group executives received a week-long training on social business. Prof Yunus rounded up the discussions and explained how the leading group can undertake social business initiative in Korea and other countries.