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Yunus Social Innovation Centre Launched in Portugal

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CATÓLICA-LISBON School of Business & Economics just celebrated collaboration protocols with Santander Foundation Portugal and Galp, for a period of 3 years, to Support CATÓLICA-LISBON Yunus Social Innovation Center, which aims to develop and disseminate knowledge and educational programs in the themes of social innovation and social business, with focus on the creation of economic models that incorporate the concerns with sustainability and inclusion.

The CATÓLICA-LISBON Yunus Social Innovation Center is based in a partnership between CATÓLICA-LISBON and Yunus Centre, which has been creating a network of Yunus Social Business Centres around the world, an inspiration coming from Prof. Muhammad Yunus, the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, with the objective of expanding the model of social business. With the launch of the CATÓLICA-LISBON Yunus Social Innovation Center, it becomes the first Yunus Social Business Centre (YSBC) in Portugal. The mission of CATÓLICA-LISBON Yunus Social Innovation Center is to promote and disseminate social innovation as a tool to effectively solve social and environmental problems, focusing on Portuguese society, but with the possibility of doing it in other geographies where it can eventually make sense to act; to support and actively engage with social businesses and other models of social innovation in the pursuit of their impact goals, contributing to the acceleration in the adoption of innovative solutions; to foster the connection and joint work of corporations and social businesses, or other intervention models based in social innovation, and develop educational programs in social innovation and social business.

Prof. Muhammad Yunus says that “This partnership of the Yunus Centre with CATÓLICALISBON, the first in Portugal, is especially important for us since Portugal has been a case study and a model for Europe in promoting social innovation and new sustainable models of business with a real impact on society. We are looking forward to working closely with CATÓLICA-LISBON Yunus Social Innovation Center and their partners, towards a world of three zeros — zero net carbon emission, zero wealth concentration for ending poverty and zero unemployment by unleashing entrepreneurship in all”.

According to Filipe Santos, CATÓLICA-LISBON’s Dean, “we believe that solving the complex problems that the Portuguese society is faced with demands that corporations are actively engaged, as well as the development of innovative business models with impact. The development of the Yunus Social Innovation Center, in partnership with Galp and the Santander Foundation, aims to develop knowledge and educational programs that can make this vision achievable.”

For Frederico Fezas Vital, the Executive Director of the CATÓLICA-LISBON Yunus Social Innovation Center, “this protocol of collaboration with Galp and Santander Foundation is key for the ambitions of the Center and will allow it not only to support the already existing Portuguese social innovation, wherever it may come from, but also to design new models, that can be more inclusive, sustainable and efficient in promoting a positive social and environmental change”.

Inês Oom de Sousa, President of the Santander Foundation Portugal, says that “this partnership makes sense because we share the goal of supporting and developing projects with social and economic impact, contributing to reduce inequalities.” And she adds that “Santander Foundation Portugal is born to transform people’s lives, companies and individuals, with a strategic focus on Education. We aim to have an active role in the 3 aspects of ESG, promoting a more inclusive and sustainable society. We believe that this partnership is aligned with our goals and that together we can make a real difference”.

Ana Casaca, Innovation Director at Galp states, “at Galp, the innovation area has the main goal of developing a portfolio of opportunities that can foster energy transition and can help us in the path towards decarbonization. From very early, we understood that technology alone will not be enough to achieve these goals, because for the energy transition to be fair and inclusive, social innovation will be fundamental in developing mechanisms and business models that can deliver the technology and all its benefits to the whole society”.

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