by Loh Yun Jin, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication Studies
23 January 2017
The yearly Chua Thian Poh Annual Distinguished Speaker Series (CTPADSS) is a series of seminars that aims to raise awareness of the latest topics in entrepreneurship studies and development. It has always seen a stellar line-up of speakers, and 2017’s was no different. On the 23rd of January, Professor Muhammad Yunus was invited to present a speech on ‘Redesigning Economics to Redesign the World’ at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.
The CTPADSS is an initiative made possible by the Chua Thian Poh Entrepreneurship Education Fund. Mr Chua Thian Poh is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ho Bee Investment Ltd, and is actively involved in community and social services.
Speaker Professor Yunus is the father of social business and microcredit, the founder of Grameen Bank and more than 50 other companies in Bangladesh. In 2006, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, amongst his many other outstanding accolades.
In his speech, Professor Yunus opened with his initial, heartfelt goal of “making (him)self useful for at least one human being, even for a day.” This simple desire took shape in the form of him liaising with banks to facilitate money-lending to the poor, so the poor could stop borrowing from loan sharks with exorbitant interests. Years later, he founded Grameen bank, a community development bank that revolutionized social enterprises in Bangladesh.
Other memorable arguments he made was to move away from a profit-maximising foundation as a determinant in decision-making, as well as to turn difficulties into opportunities. Ending his last point, he made a call to action with the quote “I am not a job seeker, I am a job-creator.”
The following day, on the 24th of January, Professor Yunus held a MSc TIP master class, exclusively to students under the programme. The topic of the master class was on social entrepreneurship, and it was a lively lecture indeed as students enthusiastically responded with their own ideas.
Professor Yunus then headed a roundtable discussion, titled “The Future of Microfinance and Social Business”. The discussion was attended by distinguished speakers, notably Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, the Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Defence & Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The roundtable discussion marked the end of CTPADSS 2017, and we would like to thank Professor Yunus for gracing the occasion with his presence and words of wisdom. We would also like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Mr Chua Thian Poh for his generous contribution that made this event possible.