We have Breaking News!

Grameen Australia urges people to reimagine how business can solve human problems.

We also look for ways to reinvent ourselves.

After 14 years of supporting and developing microfinance and social businesses in Asia, Grameen Australia is very excited to announce that on 29 March 2019 it made a strategic decision to focus domestically in Australia. Dana Asia, which has been Grameen Australia’s partner, will continue to operate and develop Grameen and Yunus styled social business and microfinance activities in the Asia Pacific.

To make this happen and provide a new operational focus we have strategically reorganised our operations and teams, starting on 1 May 2019.

We are delighted to share our news below.

What is Grameen Australia working on now?

Grameen Australia believes in the power of social business. In the past we worked in Asia and now we want to deploy this powerful model in Australia.

Why do we need it? Australia is a prosperous society. But we still have many areas of disadvantage. The traditional models of solving social problems, like charity and government, do fantastic work, yet have limits. Charities are at risk of donations drying out. Large process-oriented structures make it hard for governments to respond quickly to rapid change.

Surely there is a way to address these limitations?

Well, there is – the social business model.

The problem is, social business is not seen as a viable alternative to charity and government for solving Australia’s social problems. We want to change that.

We aim to take social business mainstream, build the ecosystem and help create a change at both the grassroots and systems-level.

 

How will we do this?

 

Given our legacy and links with Professor Yunus and the global Grameen community, Grameen Australia is uniquely placed to the standardbearer for the Grameen and Yunus ideals of social business back home.

We want to help high performing social businesses reach their potential. We will do this by marshalling resources like capital, coaching and mentoring, access to networks and markets and professional services around social businesses who are tackling problems across financial and social exclusion, disempowered migrants and refugees, climate change, mental health, disability, education and more. We look forward to leading the dialogue on social businesses like these in the coming months.

The best way to scale our mission is with the help of socially minded philanthropists and institutions. If you are a philanthropist or institution wanting to scale your social impact contributions and would like to know more about the Australian social businesses that you can support, please contact us.

Philanthropic Support

 

Our vision is for social business to be embedded in Australian society as a viable alternative to charity and government for solving social problems. If it works, Grameen Australia can play a small part in advancing Professor Yunus’ World of Three Zeros: Zero poverty, zero unemployment and zero net carbon emissions.

It is a lofty goal, so we will start small. At first, we will work with only a handful of social businesses and institutions who want to build programs like those created by Telstra Philippines Foundation or Oceana Gold. If these succeed, we can take our ambitions to the next level.

 

Will the Australian microfinance project play a role in this new world?

As well as scaling social businesses born outside of Grameen Australia, we are also going to spin out some of our own solutions. The first of these is the Australia microfinance project.

Many of you will be excited to hear that the feasibility report into this project has now been completed and we are now taking the initiative to the next stage.

This involves setting up a steering committee (SteerCo) comprised of leading Australian, American and Bangladeshi microfinance practitioners who will implement the pilot. Founding CEO Operations of Grameen America, Shah Newaz, will be part of the SteerCo and pilot.

We extend our sincerest appreciation to donors who supported the feasibility study, especially foundation partners Bendigo Community Bank (South Grafton) who under the leadership of Chairman Peter James, and board member Karen Toms, took the initiative to back the project when it was just an idea.

Commitment to support the Asian Social Business Activities

 

Many of you have been long-term generous supporters of our social businesses in Asia –the Social Business and Microfinance Hub in Manila, Philippines under Grameen Australia Philippines and the chicken farm in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

After 5 years under the umbrella of the Grameen Australia group, as of 1 May 2019, the time had come for the operation of these social businesses to be devolved to Dana Asia, with its exclusive focus on social business and microfinance in Asia.

Former Grameen Australia Group CEO, Duncan Power and founder of Dana Asia has now taken fulltime responsibility of Dana Asia. He will be joined in the Dana Asia executive team by Prometheus Siddiqui. Kat Dunn has taken over the role of CEO of Grameen Australia.

Grameen Australia continues to have a partnership with Dana Asia. As such, any donations through Grameen Australia that are directly for overseas project development will continue to be forwarded to these projects. If you are an ongoing donor, there is no change to the destination of your philanthropic donation.

Both social business activities are growing. For example, and in addition to the developing micro-finance activity in Philippines, GP with Dana Asia’s guidance as consultant is developing 7 new social businesses to create employment opportunities to the most disadvantaged in fields as diverse as organic horticulture, housing for the disadvantaged, clean drinking water, textiles, and a franchise of “super sari-sari stores’. Partnerships continue to be developed with organisations such as Telstra, Oceana Gold, Proctor & Gamble and Ayala Foundation to implement these activities.

For more information about the Asian Social Business projects and their new and exciting plans, please contact Duncan Power or visit our heritage page.

Meet the team

 

As at 1 May 2019, we have a new Executive and we are very pleased to introduce them to you.

Kat Dunn, CEO– Kat joined on 1 January 2018 and has taken over as full-time CEO. Kat started her career as a lawyer. She worked in funds management then a tech company before starting F-OFF: the Fear of Failure Forum and joining Grameen Australia.
Annabel Anderson, Operations Director– Annabel joined in April and has a passion for combatting transnational organised crime (specifically, wildlife crime). She has experience as an intern for the Jane Goodall Institute Australia, a research assistant for Senator Mehreen Faruqi and as a delegate to the CITES Conference of the Parties. She now runs Grameen Australia’s operations part-time whilst studying a Bachelor of Laws with a Bachelor of Security studies at Macquarie University.
Lucy Goodin, Projects Director– Lucy joined the Grameen Australia team in April after being part of the Social Impact Mission delegation to Manila and Social Business Youth Summit in March 2019. She recently graduated from a Bachelor of Laws with Honours and is currently working as a research assistant for a barrister whilst volunteering with Grameen Australia as projects director. Lucy has previously worked for a number of consulting and advisory practices. She is passionate about the transformational power of social business and has a particular interest in consulting and international commercial arbitration. 

The new board comprises of Chairman and long-term supporter, investment banker and engaged philanthropist Peter Hunt AM; investment banker and corporate adviser Paul Murnane; accountant and businessman Munzurul Khan; former Executive member and long-term member of the Yunus Social Business family Prometheus Siddiqui; leading Australian barrister and advocate Ian Neil SCand marketing business owner Dilek Saticieli.

We would love to thank our dear friends and former board members Lindley Edwards, Joe Capra, David Landers, Duncan Power, Nim Rutman, Dr Masud Isa and Elizabeth Masumane who are stepping down as part of the transition. We wish them great success in their other ventures! The new Board of Dana Asia will include David Landers as Chair and Elizabeth Masumane.

What next?

Grameen Australia is advancing the same grand cause – social business – in a new way with a new team! We have built social businesses in Asia and can apply our insights to Australia.

We are fundraising through the Charity TV Global project to develop our new strategy – you can kick-start our momentum by donating to the campaign.

Charity TV Donations

 

We invite you to continue to support us on this exciting journey, and to be part of creating an Australia where business is deployed as a force for good.

If you would like to find out more please contact any of our wonderful team members via the contact page.