Yunus Centre Press Release (08 February, 2017)
Nobel Laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus was the Chief Guest at the grand launch of Ujjivan Small Finance Bank (Ujjivan SFB) in Bengaluru, India on February 6, 2017. This new bank, which launched its five initial branches, aims to reach out to the larger unserved and underserved populace and provide them with easy-to-use and access banking services. Ujjivan Financial Services Ltd, one of the leading microfinance companies in India, began its journey in 2005 with support from Grameen Trust. Ujjivan has the largest pan-India presence of any microfinance company with through 469 branches with 44% year-on-year jump in gross loan book to Rs 6,588 crore at the end of December, last year. It has 3.6 million active small borrowers in 24 states. Ujjivan SFB is one of the first ten Microfinance banks licensed by the central bank of India. Professor Yunus had long been advocating for banking licences to MFIs in India which have established good record of performance. Central Bank of India has recently created a new category of bank following his suggestions. Ujjivan is one of the first MFIs which received the license.
Earlier in the day Professor Yunus delivered the Silver Jubilee Inaugural Lecture as the chief guest at the silver jubilee celebration of Seshadripuram First Grade College in Bengaluru. He interacted with the students and faculty at the ceremony and shared about his experience of tackling social problems through microcredit and social business. He inspired the young minds to dream big and become entrepreneurs rather running after job.
Professor Yunus also addressed the scientists and faculty at the Indian Institute of Science(IIS), Bangalore which ranks among the five top science research institute in the world. He said, ‘ Human beings are meant to be entrepreneurs and not job seekers’ while delivering his keynote speech at IIS. He called upon countries like India and Bangladesh to establish a business system with a goal to solve humanity’s problems, not one that had profit making as a goal. IIS was originally established by Tata Trusts and later the institute, sprawled over 450 acres of land, converted into a national research and academic institutions devoted to fundamental research initiatives.