Are doing good and doing business mutually exclusive? This video would beg to differ. As part of the Global Competitiveness Forum, where global business leaders, international political leaders, selected intellectuals and journalists come together to network and discuss business, competitiveness and its effects, this panel presents a special niche that focuses on business and doing good.
- Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud – Alf Khair
- Lujain al Ubaid – Tasamy
- Mohammad Al-Ubaydli – Patients Know Best
- Ashraf Naguib – Global Trade Matters
- George de Lama – President of Eisenhower Fellowships
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Transcript for “Doing good by doing business”
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back to the stage Ms. Zeinab Badawi.
(Zeinab Badawi) So, everybody, we meet again.
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] one more time.
It’s my pleasure to be with you this afternoon.
Excellent to see the ladies and gentleman, of course, your Royal Highness. So in this session, we’re going to try to square the circle. We’re going to talk about business doing good.
The exact title is “Doing Good by Doing Business,” and some people will say that is a contradiction in terms. We’re going to prove you wrong, because these people here are going to explain to you why they think that you can do good by doing business and not just think about the bottom line, but the double lined, the triple line, whatever you want to call it.
So we’ve got two wonderful women with me. I should have introduced them first– her Royal Highness, Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al-Saud.
I’m sorry. My Arabic is not great–Bint Bandar Al-Saud. It’s wonderful to have you with us, your Royal Highness. And you are CEO of Alf Khair, which means “a thousand blessings,” to those of you who don’t speak Arabic.
And really, you are an award-winning businesswoman, but you’ve now moved into the area, for the time being, of social enterprise. And Alf Khair does do that. And then we have Lujain Al Ubaid, who’s also a great force amongst Saudi Arabian womenfolk, and she runs something called Al Tasamy for social enterprise. Again, for those of you who do not speak Arabic, “tasamy” means evaporation. And her plan is to turn solid things into, not hot air, because you don’t want that, do you? Explain what Tasamy is really, what you mean by it.
(Lujain Al Ubaid) So, Tasamy, evaporation, what we mean is we want to turn these frozen ideas, and we want to expand them and unleash them into the world with all the positive impact it carries.
(Zeinab Badawi) So make it we’ll go out into the ether. But like I said, not hot air. OK, great.
And next to you there is Mohammad Al-Ubaydli, who is racially from Bahrain, but he is based in the United Kingdom, where he is founder of something called Patients Know Best. He trained as a doctor at Cambridge University, but he only worked for one year as a physician, and decided that the patient knows best. So he set up this organization. And, I don’t know, you want the– I still would like to be treated by a doctor, I have to say. But he believes, and he’ll explain to you, why he thinks that the consumer, the patient, knows best.
Next to him is Ashraf Naguib, or as we say in standard Arabic Ashraf Na-jeeb. So from Egypt, of course. And he is CEO of something called Global Trade Matters, which is a not-for-profit think tank, and he’ll tell you more about that.
And then next to him is George de Lama, who is a man of many, many parts. He’s worked as a foreign correspondent, as a media executive. But he’s currently the 10th President at the Eisenhower Fellowship.
And I know that some people who have had links with [INAUDIBLE] have also had links with Eisenhower fellowships, which basically tries to promote good leaders in regions across the world.
3:55.61That’s our panel. Welcome to you all.
Princess Reema, so just before, I’d like to just ask you, because, really, you did something really very fascinating in December. You set up the largest human awareness ribbon, because you believe in promoting awareness, particularly about noncommunicable diseases, like diabetes, obesity, and so on.
So while we roll this video, showing the pictures of that, just explain to us exactly what it was you did.
4:29.56 (Princess Reema) So I work with the Breast Cancer Association Zahra. And equally, I am a social entrepreneur. I’m an entrepreneur, and I’m an active individual in my community. And what I wanted to do is take away the idea of disease as a singular subject, recognizing that in order to heal yourself, you actually must change your lifestyle.
4:48.27(Zeinab Badawi) All right, let me just pause here for a second. Roll video.
(Princess Reema) So this video is 8,264 Saudi women that joined together on December 12 in honor of breast cancer to form the largest human awareness ribbon. That’s a gimmick. The gimmick was to get us all to one place so we could all learn something. And then in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Health, we talked about breast cancer, diabetes, obesity, and osteoporosis. When you think of those four subjects, taking away breast cancer, we’re talking about lifestyle, nutrition, mental health, because all of that becomes one conversation. So when these women arrived, they didn’t arrived just to form this ribbon; they were exposed to education on all of these subject matters. Further, the charities through the Ministry of Social Affairs came and spoke to us about mental, environmental, physical, and medical help. And the idea of holistic health and its importance is how it then affects business–positively, negatively.
If we are ill and unwell, we are not going to have a population to sell things to, if you want to look at it commercially. We’re not going to have a population to house, if you want to talk about it from a housing point of view. We are not going to have a population that’s going to be able to raise children that are then going to work, from another point of view. So what is the point of not focusing on our health? And then specifically I would ask, what is the point of exclusively focusing on a disease.
So my enterprise Alf Khair, what our mandate is to provide access to opportunity, so finding causes and finding initiatives and looking at who are the partner organizations that we could collaborate with to take a message, deliver it, but then have maximum impact. The impact of this from a commercial point of view or a business point of view is we had 53 partnerships in order to make this happen, which to me screams business opportunity. In order to secure these women, we actually had to work with three different security agencies, because there aren’t enough female security individuals. When we had to feed these women, we had to work with about 40 different food vendors, because there aren’t enough food vendors that have women to work to supply this.
We had to work with five different cleaning companies to service this event.
So when you think about an event exclusively for women in a country like ours that does have a segregation, and you think of how can I now employ people to serve people to create an event to do an event to affect change, you’re looking at a whole economy.
So when you’re talking about is social enterprise sustainable? It is sustainable if you collaborate. So that really is an example of how you really need women in the service sector to provide services for other women.
(Zeinab Badawi) I just want to ask you quickly though, that was speeded up. More than 8,000 women, how did long did that take in real time?
(Princess Reema) 2 and 1/2 hours, and I apologize for any of the ladies that stood with us two hours, and I thank you.
(Zeinab Badawi) Yeah, I think let’s give them a clap.
(Zeinab Badawi) And you entered the Guinness Book of Records. So making a social statements, but also breaking records at the same time. Lujain Al Ubaid, just really asking you, because you talk about social entrepreneurship, and just really looking at the theme of this discussion that we’re having, doing good by doing business. A lot of people are very skeptical and say, look, the bottom line of private enterprise is it can’t have social impact, because it’s always going to be motivated by profit.
(Lujain Al Ubaid) And you’re answerable to your shareholders and that kind of thing. So in a climate like that, where people talk about the private enterprise in the standard way, how easy is it to get this kind of social impact, social entrepreneur message over? From my experience, I believe that the message is not delivered easily, and it’s not easy to actually motivate social entrepreneurs to be social entrepreneurs. I would actually voice out what Reema said about creating the economy for social entrepreneurship. Last week I was in Angol. It was 400 kilos away from [INAUDIBLE] Place in Hyderabad, India, as an [INAUDIBLE] Fellow. And I went by car for three hours to visit a village. And there I met three kids– Menami and Ruti and Karutha– three kids that lacked basic needs of clothing, food, and everything else. And with the little they had, they actually managed to warn me from a beehive that I would be killed if I got a sting from. And on my way back, which was almost three hours in the car and eight hours in the train, I had a lot to reflect on that. What did we do to them? I think the basic element actually encouraged everyone to give back, whether it’s a corporate or an individual or an individual or an entrepreneur, is actually to understand the need, that you need to do something.
You have to step up and create that solution for that gap that everyone is talking about. If we’re going to talk about poverty in Africa, 23 million students go to schools every day hungry. If we’re going to talk about unemployment in Europe, there are 22 million Europeans that are unemployed. If we’re going to talk about health in the US, we spend around $190 billion every year just to fix obesity or to treat obesity.
(Zeinab Badawi) If we’re going to talk about the environment, in Asia, 7% only of the population can access clean water. So what are we doing to them? Ashraf Naguib, just help us unpack this a little bit now. Because when we talk about social entrepreneurship, are we talking about, taking one that’s that Lujain raised there looking at Africa, are you saying, for example, go and invest in power in Africa? And we know there’s a huge deficit of the power there. Make money, but, at the same time, bring electricity to the villages, is that what it is? It’s investment, private enterprise, with social impact? Is that essentially what we mean by doing good by doing business?
(Ashraf Naguib) It’s a pleasure to be here, and it’s a pleasure to speak again. I think I’m the only represents of the private sector on this panel. And let me share with you my story and the story of Global Trade Matters. And maybe we can take from that a bit of inspiration of what the youth can do–
11:36.21(Zeinab Badawi) A quick story –to make things easier.
(Ashraf Naguib) Absolutely, it is a very quick story. Basically, the concept of wanting to do good, but at same time needing the flexibility within the framework, such as Egypt, to be able to do this good without being hindered through the bureaucratic process that we have so entrenched in our society, in Egypt specifically. So let me give you a very small example. When we started Global Trade Matters in 2001, our main purpose was to really help taxi drivers, which are the main fabric of the Egyptian society. If any of the Saudis here or anybody’s visited, Egypt’s taxis are very important. We’re able to bring together a fleet of 3,000 of these taxes. Now, we wanted to raise their annual income. The only way we can do that is to connect them with the private sector outside the realm of the government. We just needed one license to be able to put taxi-top advertising on top of these taxes. But the rest of the work was done by ourselves, going down, trying to get these taxi drivers, that were individuals, to be able to subscribe to this new service that we were providing.
We opened up eight service stations for them across different governance in Egypt, and we were able to get them on board. Now, what we’ve done was really increase their annual income by at least 1,200 pounds a year. What we were getting out of this, as Global Trade Matters, is obviously a certain bit of profitability. But our main strategy inside Global Trade Matters is to reinvest all our profit for as long as this company exists.
Now, what makes it so much easier? All we needed to do is go open up a limited liability’s company, come up with this idea, and then go implement it on the basis of profit and loss. And our belief is even government, more efficient governments, are ones that are able to manage their budgets and for them to be able to build their processes on the principles of profit and loss. And that’s exactly what Global Trade Matters does. We don’t invest in energy, for example. Our investments are very limited, maybe schools for special needs, still private sector-based. But at the end of the day, our main objective was to get special needs children to be able to go throughout the whole process of primary, secondary, high school, and then get into universities, because that’s one of the major problems that they have, and then deal with all the issues that come with it. Now, within Egypt, there are already policies and frameworks that we can work without having to advocate change or new policies.
For example, our private sector law stipulates that companies with over 50 employees have to have 3% with people with special needs. And again, that’s where we started to make the connection between education, private sector, for special needs, and be able to get them the jobs. Now we don’t just leave them once they get the job. We follow up and see how they’re doing. Again, all that I’m saying is a for-profit-based principle. We– A full profit principle to help children with special needs, is what you’re saying.
(Zeinab Badawi) Is that the example you’re giving?
(Ashraf Naguib) Yes.
Microfinance for small farmers is a very important thing. Financial institutions and bankers here will tell you that it’s very high risk for banks to lend to small farmers. What we did is we took the risk by borrowing the money from the banks and being the ones responsible for the payback.
14:40.78(Zeinab Badawi) And you do often find these very small farmers don’t get the financing they need from the banks, which don’t want to lend to them. Mohammad Al-Ubaydli, though, just to pick up on that point that Ashraf Naguib made, I mean, is it right that the private sector should provide a service like special needs in education or health for that matter? Because that’s your particular area of interest.
(Mohammad Al-Ubaydli) It’s not that really properly the realm of the government to the public sector to ensure that there are a basic level of services there, and that really there isn’t a role for business in that kind of provision? So it’s not either or. But I will say that–
(Zeinab Badawi) Just start again.
(Mohammad Al-Ubaydli) If you’re trying to solve problems at scale, the private sector has productivity output like no other sector. So if you look at the last 100 years, the efficiency of the government sector and the nonprofit sector has grown incrementally less than 1%. If you look at the private sector, productivity grows 2%, 3%, 4%, 5%. So if you want to tackle problems at scale, the private sector has the skills to deliver at scale. Now, how you tax that, how you incentivise that, that’s a role for the government to regulate and intervene and make sure there’s no bad players, and the good players get rewarded for doing the good things.
16:00.79(Zeinab Badawi) Even providing for the vulnerable and the needy, you feel that, that is a service which can, under a regulatory framework set by governments, the public sector be a service provided by the private sector for profit?
(Mohammad Al-Ubaydli) I’m focused on the outcomes, basically. If we want the truly massive problems we have in health care, education, and so on to be fixed, if something is delivering a good outcome, we want to double down on it.
(Zeinab Badawi) And just very quickly, on Patients Know Best, do you believe in giving power to the consumer, which a lot of people would say, yes, that’s a great idea. Maybe they’re taxi drivers or small scale holders, farmers, and they will know what they need. But does the patient really know what they need? Are you talking about them getting hold of their records and helping determine what kind of health treatment they might receive?
(Mohammad Al-Ubaydli) So I will say that Patient Knows Best is a mission statement not a declarative statement. So I’m not saying they currently know best, that they will by the time we finish with them. When you’re saying you want the doctor to do things, so if you have appendicitis, I know you don’t want to do your own operation. You’d rather the surgeon does the operations, rather than you.
17:07.02(Zeinab Badawi) I think that’s an obvious one, yes.
(Mohammad Al-Ubaydli) But the conditions that you were describing in the ribbon, Princess, the heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, 70% of health care spending is on conditions where the patient has it for more than one year. The patient may get one hour with that physician. The remaining 8,000 hours a year, they are responsible for what’s happening with that. If you don’t give them the data to manage themselves, they cannot carry out the healthy things.
17:35.91(Zeinab Badawi) So the responsibility of the individual not to overeat and manage their diabetes if they have it.
(Mohammad Al-Ubaydli) It’s not just patient rights. It’s also patient responsibilities.
(Zeinab Badawi) Right, OK. George, so just really, perhaps you would help us here then. In general terms, give us a definition of what we really mean by doing good by doing business, and how you can reconcile this profit motive with the greater good.
(George de Lama) Personally, I don’t personally understand how some people separate the two. I am a recovering journalist. That’s my confession. But I have always been drawn to the kind of work with purpose, with a larger purpose, where if you do well, you can do some good, whether it was in journalism. I had an incarnation international development, then in online education, and now I have the privilege to work in an extraordinary international organization; Eisenhower Fellowships, that’s a nonprofit nonpartisan foundation that we identify, empower, and connect innovative leaders from all fields all over the world through a transformative fellowship experience and lifelong engagement in a global network of change agents, who are committed to creating a world that’s more peaceful and prosperous and just.
So I get to work in an organization where that’s actually the mission. And I agree with what Mohammad was saying. It’s interesting in the Middle East and in Africa, we’ve noticed that CSR or it’s flip side social entrepreneurship. Whereas in the United States it’s more geared towards customer satisfaction and perhaps a marketing/public relations dimension. In this part of the world, and I think intelligently so, it’s been more geared to addressing social problems, particularly through public and private partnerships.
We have a Fellow named Martin Burt, who is an extraordinary man from Paraguay. He was the mayor of Asuncion and a minister of commerce. And he is the ideal Eisenhower Fellow. He founded a foundation in Paraguay to teach entrepreneurial skills to low-income communities, helped found a sister organization in the UK called Teach a Man to Fish. He’s partnering with a Fellow in Nigeria, another Eisenhower Fellow, to create a network of schools for girls. Martin likes to say that every social problem is an opportunity.
And what social entrepreneurship is creating new paradigms to address, to come up with new approaches to address those old social problems. Now, governments, for instance, in poverty, in all parts of the world, usually have a top down approach. They have the big budgets, but they also have bureaucratic constraints and usually do not come up with the most creative programs, not to mention the efficiency.
Whereas entrepreneurs, particularly innovative entrepreneurs, can bring the kind of fresh thinking and entrepreneurial outlook to bring innovation and partner with those resources to really create a sustainable impact. And I think that’s what we’re talking about and we’re seeing in many places.
(Zeinab Badawi) Very quickly, before we open it to the floor. Perhaps Princess Reema, I don’t know, one of the other panelists could respond to this, which is we are looking now increasingly at new models, as you were saying, as to how we can achieve the greater good within the business model. And you tend to find now, increasingly, that there are roles where you have a tripartite partnership, as it were, where you have the public sector, government investment of some kind, the private sector, but also the voluntary or the development, or the aid sector, whatever you want to call it, all working together, usually on bigger projects. And you find that that kind of synergy is delivering the kind of outcomes that we are all discussing. Is that something you’d like–
(Princess Reema) That was the key to our success. What I forgot to mention is–
(Zeinab Badawi) Just start again.
(Princess Reema) I’m sorry. That was the key to our success, that partnership. And it took us a year and a half, almost two years to secure this event because we needed the buy-in from every single department. It wouldn’t have been enough to just have volunteers. What were they volunteering to do? And in order to expose our volunteers to what is possible for them as they develop, they needed the exposure to the public sector engagement and the private sector engagement, and realize the differences in it. For the public sector, they actually need to see the value in the private sector as more than just vehicles for money. And I’d really love if we could change that mindset here.
A business is not a vampire to do good in this country, if you can educate the business owner to the value of CSR and community engagement.
Therefore the laws and regulations should empower the businesses to be more proactive, rather than prohibit them. It’s part of why I started what I did. Because when I was working in the department store at Harvey Nichols, we wanted community engagement. But because of the guidelines of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Labor, and Ministry of Commerce, there were very many projects we just could not implement because we were a department store, and it didn’t fit within our mandate. But in our mandate of CSR is community engagement. So it was this kind of, yes, we really want to do it, but we’re not quite sure what you’re asking for, therefore no. Whereas I’d love if we could just shift it to if I would like a business to be innovative, I should allow them to innovate. If they are allowed to innovate, they become examples for people who can be inspired by that and take that and run with it, which is where collaboration comes on board.-that collaboration.
(Zeinab Badawi) Mohammad Al-Ubaydli, obviously, the United Kingdom not for a recipient of donor aid money but certainly a huge proponent of public/private partnerships, particularly in the health sector. And I know that here in Saudi Arabia there is a huge drive for PPPs in all sorts of infrastructural projects– schools, hospitals, clinics, you name it. But perhaps just give everybody an idea of how those public/private partnerships work very much within the health sector, the NHS in the UK.
(Mohammad Al-Ubaydli) So what the government has done over decades is the National Health Service set the principle which is care is free at the point of need. That’s the goal. You organize everything around that. But how you deliver the care, how you fund the care, that’s up for discussion. And every year there are hundreds and thousands of medical innovations which come from public funding, the private sector, the nonprofit. Everybody’s chipping in what they want. So if you then harness that around these are the goals. This is what we need to do for diabetes. This is what we need to do for hospitals and so on. You have a framework for co-investment from the public and the private sector that brings the entrepreneurialism of the private sector, but also the sustained signal and goal from the government saying, this is what we’re delivering for our citizens. This is what we will fund over decades. And that sustained signal is critical for the private sector investment as well as the public sector receiving the solutions they want.
(Zeinab Badawi) Thank you.
Anybody on the panel want to pick up before I go to the floor?
(George de Lama) Well, I would just, and I don’t disagree with that, but you don’t have to wait, really also, for the government. So sitting here, one of the Fellows– it’s exhilarating spending time with our Fellows around the world. But one of the Fellows who has really– one of the people with our organization who’s really inspired me is Amr Dabbagh the former governor of SAGIA, whose father was one of our first Fellows, Abdullah Al-Dabbagh, who was Minister of Agriculture in Saudi Arabia and founder of the Al-Dabbagh Group. Amr, His Excellency, is one of our more dedicated trustees. And as the chairman and CEO of the Al-Dabbagh Group, they exemplify– he’s an enlightened leader who walks the talk.
They exemplify what we’re talking about. Talk about changing a new mindset; he has coined a term “philanthropreneurism.”
Now, it doesn’t quite roll off the tongue. Not an easy one to say. The idea is very sound. It’s bringing business principles and business discipline and entrepreneurial thinking to philanthropy, to giving in a strategic way. And he has created different strategic initiatives to give financially around the world and contribute to better the lives of children and people around the world, and he’s also challenged the managers in the Al-Dabbagh Group, which employs like 15,000 people and 62 companies to engage with NGOs at the grassroots in areas like sanitation, education, housing and other areas to try to unleash the next big thing, the next big idea. And that is expected, it is part of how they do business. It is indistinguishable– profit with a purpose, they’re indistinguishable.
(Ashraf Naguib) Can I just– one second before you go to questions, I just want to say, there are no bad businesses. There are bad people. And that’s the way we have to look at it, regardless of whether it’s a nonprofit or a profit-based organizations. At the end of the day, it’s the way and the people that run it that either do good or bad in society.
(LujainAl Ubaid) I also would like to build on everything that was said, that what social entrepreneurs or philanthropreneurs need is actually support, not only from individuals, from corporate government. Tasamy is a nonprofit that focuses on establishing innovative and sustainable solutions, not only by empowering social entrepreneurs, but also we need to engage everyone to support that ecosystem and build it. I mentioned the statistics previously, and they were not based in the Middle East for a reason; we lack data.
There is not enough support for research in that matter. We need support, whether it’s for entrepreneurs, or even for nonprofit organizations that empower the sector. That’s a very key point. You can’t really do this without the data collecting and so on. But you’ve heard two different models here, really. or rather that they’re interrelated. George talking very much about the need to nurture the leaders. And he talked about Amr Al-Dabbagh and so on. But also, Ashraf has talked about the fact that you have those social entrepreneurs, be they farmers, because don’t forget, the farmer is often romanticized as a kind of part of a peasant movement. But really, they’re the private sector. They are part of the market and so on. And they know what they want to do. They just lack the means to develop their small hold or their farm. So they just need somebody to help provide the finance for them, rather than somebody– Not only to finance, Tasamy, we are four years old. It took us two years to register. I am thankful for everyone who supported us. Finally, we got the Ministry of Commerce as a strategic partner, and that’s a huge milestone for us as an organization. But it was not only from the ecosystem, it was also from the individuals that stands behind Tasamy. I have a great team that is patient and supportive. We have a great network that supports us in every single way, not only financially, but sometimes even emotionally in capacity-building terms. And it’s not just about finance at all, because what we do with the small farmers, for example, is we buy the seeds that they plant. We give them technical assistance on irrigation, on post-harvest losses. And Egypt will lose 60% of our crop at harvest. So these are essential things that we do. Because at the end of the day, we do take the risk on the financing part. So we want to make sure that they make a profit, that we make a profit, and the bank gets their money back, and then we were able to go into another cycle, including actually having forward contracts to their crops before they’re even harvested. So we just take the cycle from A to Z and really teach them.
(Zeinab Badawi) From soil to market, as it were. Good.
Can I see hands from the floor, please. Four points, there’s a lady there. Ah, [INAUDIBLE], my good friend, lovely, thank you. can I also see from the ladies’ side there? Please, ladies, we have two of your fellow Saudi women here on the stage with you.
So please, I’d like to see some hands from there, ladies. Wonderful, good.
Madame [INAUDIBLE], anybody this side?
Wonderful, this is a lovely ladies intervention here. So one, two, three, good. Gentleman, you can keep quiet today. [INAUDIBLE]. Yes? It’s not working. Could somebody just check? Thank you, Zeinab.
(Question) Thank you for the panel. My question is to Princess Reema. It’s wonderful what you’ve done with your awareness in Jeddah. I know everything happens between Jeddah and the Eastern Province. Would you sort of take this mission and take it all around the kingdom? And is this something you intend to repeat next year and the years after? Thank you. We’ll take a couple and then come back. Yes? Number four.
Thank you, [INAUDIBLE].
(Zeinab Badawi) OK, I got about 80% of that. Do you want to give a quick translation for the non-Arabic speakers. I think you will make it more precise for that question, yes.
(Princess Reema) Three key points– how do we raise and broaden the horizons of our youth, how do we allow thought to have more exposure to experiences like this, so they have something to reflect on and I think perhaps role models, and how do we recognize their value as the next generation, in summation.
(Zeinab Badawi) OK, so that was the question. What’s the answer? Do you not want to give the answer? What about you?
(Princess Reema) So I’m often the youngest person in the room. So it comes with a huge responsibility. But I often also reflect on how I reach there and how I become who I am. It’s a fostering system and balance system between family and education. But what she’s pointing out to those who can’t it, I would go also again back to the point that it’s an initiative that should be initiated by not only the government, not only the private sector, but also individuals.
We can’t reach out to 32 million people in Saudi Arabia. We actually need to cooperate, and we need to go back to the basic practice of Islam, which is [SPEAKING ARABIC].
And it comes in different forms of building for humanity, whether through education or commerce or even health. If we take this into perspective, whether we are a governmental official decision-maker or individual or an entrepreneur, things would change.
(Zeinab Badawi) All right, good, because she herself is a businesswoman, she said, didn’t she?
George, do you want to add something? Because there was a specific point there about youth and engaging the youth. Did you want to just make a brief response on that? I’m sorry– Ashraf.
(Ashraf) I just really appreciate the fact that she says, yes, there should be more youth in forums like this, and we do at Global Trade Matters. But the way that we do it is, again, unconventional. We don’t go to the universities. We go to the student unions, and we deal with them directly. Because what I want, and what we always want, is those people that are interested, that are going to come here, and that are going to listen, and that are going to take something back, and they’re going to share it. But those that are going to be forced by a professor or by their university to attend, there’ll be outside drinking coffee and totally bored. So again, it’s not to go through the university, but to go through the student union and for us to be able to get a seriousness from the youth.
But youth are extremely important, and they should be with us in conferences like this.
(Zeinab Badawi) Valid point, yeah.
Do you want to say anything, George?
(George de Lama) Well, I would just say, as the son of a teacher– my late mother was a teacher. My sister’s a teacher– I couldn’t agree more. We’ve been hearing for two days the critical importance of education, which is absolutely true, and it does start when they’re young. At Eisenhower Fellowships, one thing we try to do is expose young people.
We’re based in Philadelphia in the United States– young people from the Philadelphia area– to the role models that our young leaders can represent for him. As a young man, I really had no role models for my aspirations. I had parents who worked very hard, and they were my role models for how to conduct yourself and earn what you get. But for my dreams, I really didn’t have role models. And so we try to bring together young people to show them our exceptional leaders.
(Zeinab Badawi) Thank you. And now, Princess Reema, the question rom Madame [INAUDIBLE] about whether you’re going to roll out your awareness program all over the country.
(Princess Reema) So the value of providing access to opportunity is not being the owner of the campaign. We were the collaboratives. So it’s now putting the onus back on to the partnerships that were created. So we’ve handed the relationship. Yes, we will be involved in it. But back to the Breast Cancer Association, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Affairs that have agreed for the period of 2016 to roam the country with the four screening programs and the education and to engage within school and college levels. But the important thing that I think we have to realize is the ownership of this kind of a campaign, which is a community effort, has to be taken on by the community. So you have to give them the ability to believe, and truly believe, that they can own it and run with it and then translated for their needs also. Because the singular vision is holistic health; that was my vision. But how does that translate in Jeddah? It might be a slightly different theme than what it looks like in [INAUDIBLE], to what it looks like in [INAUDIBLE]. So it has to be relevant to each community, but the framework is there. So what we would like to do is never again break a Guinness record, because I nearly lost my mind doing it and the logistics of it, and the security issues of it, and all of that and the responsibility of– actually 13,000-plus women attended this event, plus 1,900 volunteers. It was too much of– it was a naive thing to think that it would be easy.
But it’s one of those the innocence of not knowing. So to do that again? No. But to continue the concept of holistic health is mandatory, and it’s not just my mission. I would ask you all as businessmen to take on that role for your company’s and your families. It’s our collective job, not my job. My job was to highlight this as a subject and say, I think we’re in a bit of a problem. Because every single government organization we spoke to highlighted the same thing– health crisis, fitness crisis. And it’s going to affect our economy. And everybody in this room is talking about global competitiveness. How could we compete globally, if we can’t actually get up and move from our couches?
(Zeinab Badawi) Thank you. The lady here has our final question.
(Question) My question was from your perspective, what is needed to create, encourage, or support the social enterprise and social entrepreneurship? And it was partially answered by Lujain. So my other question was, or is actually, what can we do today in order for us to achieve this? And this also includes the challenge of licensing.
Because if I believe and even if I’m correct, that the only country that gives licensing for social enterprise is Denmark. But I could be mistaken, because the subject of social enterprise licensing is also new to the globe. So the question is, what can we do today to achieve the ecosystem that is required to encourage and support social enterprise?
(Zeinab Badawi) OK, thank you.
In fact, panel, why don’t we roll both of those two questions as our final question to all of you.
What do you need in the ecosystem to develop the right foundations for social enterprise? And if you feel you’ve already answered that, then answer, perhaps, what we need to do?
So what the conditions are that are needed and what we need to do. Start with you, and we’ll end that way. Lujain, thank you.
(Lujain Al Ubaid) She pointed out, too, a very important fact that we often draw ourselves in defining which is the legal way to register our social enterprise, or what is the definition of social entrepreneurship. We often forget that what matters is innovation and impact and sustainability. We need that solution to be sustainable. We need that impact, that would change a lot of lives to be sustainable. And we need that innovation to be present and then a solution. We have tons of ideas. In Tasamy we get 50 emails every week, at least, if not more, from youth not only in Saudi, also outside of Saudi, who are seeking mentorship and support. And what can we do for them? I go to bed every day much heavier than before with these emails, because I can’t do anything. But what can everyone do?
(Zeinab Badawi) Thank you. And briefly, all of panel, if you would, about 30 seconds. Mohammad Al-Ubaydli, thank you.
(Mohammad Al-Ubaydli) I’ll just add too very quickly. From my perspective, one of the biggest bits of feedback I got early on was we got 5,000-pound grant from Unlimited in the UK, which basically gives very quick grants for somebody who’s doing social enterprise. And it was only until they gave us, I didn’t actually realize I was working a social enterprise. I knew I was something good, and I was trying to run a business. But it was them signaling this is important for society that really helped me with a lot of– including my parents– just saying, see, this is worth pursuing. Ashoka, at the other end, which is an American nonprofit backing social entrepreneurs, they’re now focusing their efforts on schools. So primary schools and secondary schools, teaching tomorrow’s children that the problems are for them to solve, that they have to create the solutions, and just bringing that from the curriculum from early on.
(Zeinab Badawi) Thank you.
(Ashraf) Just to answer your question, a very quick demonstration is we are the ones that need to force change in policy environment that we have, whether in Egypt or Denmark and any other place in world. So what we did was we took action. We’ve been operating for the past probably 14 years. And now the government starts realizing what we’re doing, and other people are starting to emulate this model that we have. So, as a matter of fact, we’re the ones that are setting the environment for social entrepreneurship in Egypt at this point.
And it doesn’t matter; it could be private sector. It could be nonprofit. It could be for-profit. It could be an NGO. At the end of the day, if you’re running it with the principles of helping your society and the future of your country, then it will work. So don’t be confined by any legal network, any legal policy or framework. Do what needs to be done the way that you can. I would say two things. One is education, and education in the broadest sense. Education is lifelong. There is all kinds of broad education that is being addressed by social entrepreneurs in terms of financial literacy, in terms of entrepreneurial skills– incredibly important. But with it, you need a long-term commitment. One of the reasons companies and many organizations really do not believe in this and really in their hearts and follow through is they’re very focused on the short term. CSR, like development, is a long-term proposition.
(Zeinab Badawi) Thank you.
(George de Lama) And final word briefly. Thank you. I would say, and I hate to sound like a broken reel, but streamlined regulation to allow for innovation, but also clarify the methodology of connecting from organization to organization.
Because all of our licensing and regulation is interconnected. If you can’t streamline it, the entrepreneur is going to look at this and say, this is too difficult a proposition. Why bother? So you take away the spirit of innovation. So once you’ve streamlined it, yes, obviously education is important. But it’s not just educating and it’s not just empowering people. You’re going to empower people with no capability. They’re not going to understand the impact. So focus on the capability and change what does capability mean for us today? It’s not just being the accountant or being the doctor. It’s actually the soft skills that surround the ability to engage and then deliver, which is more important than just empowering. If you can’t deliver, there’s no point in empowering someone that can’t deliver.
(Zeinab Badawi) Thank you all very much for sharing your thoughts with us on doing good by doing good business, I think is what we have said. And I abused my position as Chair entirely by only calling on women from the audience. But I say nothing in my defense.
Thank you very much indeed.
Thank you very much.