The Centennial Fund (TCF) announced the winners in the 2014 Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Global Entrepreneurship Award at a glittering ceremony at the upscale Ritz-Carlton Riyadh on Monday night.
“I congratulate the winners of the awards for what they have achieved because of their creativity,” said TCF board of directors chairman Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah, who is also the Saudi deputy foreign minister.
Prince Abdullaziz bin Abdullah and Abdulaziz H. Al-Mutairi, a member of the board of trustees and GM of TCF, honored award recipients on the occasion.
The prince thanked everyone who had helped to make the event as successful as it was, including Sabic and Shell, represented by Patrick Van Daele, vice president and country chairman.
Prince Abdulaziz also congratulated Muhammad Yunus, who had earlier been chosen for the 2nd Global Entrepreneurship Award (GEA-2014).
Prince Abdulaziz said that TCF was keen to serve the community and society with the holding of the entrepreneurship forum, which had been held earlier on Monday morning. He noted that it was taken part in by well-known local and foreign experts on entrepreneurship and that it was made possible with the full support of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
The prince said that it was one of the TCF’s objectives and that it was significant to the national economy. He also noted the TCF’s achievements.
“I take this opportunity to thank King Abdullah for the support TCF has received to help fulfill the dreams and aspirations of the youth in this country,” said the prince.
Speaking with Arab News earlier on his behalf, Abdulaziz H. Al-Mutairi, TCF general manager and a member of the board of directors, said that Prince Abdulaziz hoped that young Saudi entrepreneurs will grow by going global.
He said that TCF would help them by give them training under its 35,000 trainers in different colleges and universities all over the Kingdom.
Khaled Alolaiwi, a young Saudi entrepreneur, lauded TCF’s plan and goal, saying that “it will go a long way in helping the Saudi economy grow.”
Alolaiwi manages Tarjamat Office, which rendered simultaneous interpretation services on the occasion.
Yunus, who introduced micro-finance in Bangladesh, also talked on the occasion, saying that he started his mission to help the poor by lending $47 dollars to 20 people.
He said that this became very successful and, as a result, many people also approached him for loans.
“I eventually went to the banks to convince them to lend money to youth and I was asked as guarantor. This was in 1976,” he told the audience.
He started Grameen Bank, which already has $8.5 billion in assets and has helped about 8.5 million families.
“Thousands of family members that received help from Grameen Bank have become successful in their chosen endeavors. Many have become doctors,” Yunus said.
He added that “there’s a big difference between the first and second generations of Grameen Bank borrowers.”
He said that he had told borrowers that they “should come up with a social business and create jobs to help solve human problems and get away from profit-making.”
“The mission should be to solve people’s problems, create social businesses and invite others to become entrepreneurs. As a result, we received several applications. In social business, no profit and loans are made available without interest,” he said.
He added, “Whatever amount we give to borrowers, they should return it without any profit for us.”
He added that society-created systems are responsible for unemployment.
“Everything should be geared toward stability,” he said.
Grameen Bank has expanded by establishing branches overseas. “We have two in Los Angeles, two in San Francisco, and one each in Boston, Nebraska, and Charlotte. Our average loan in the United States is $1,500,” he said.
He added that “What we’re doing is not a Bangladeshi phenomenon. It’s global. The first mission for an aspiring entrepreneur is to learn how to be...an entrepreneur,” he said.
His book, “Banker to the Poor,” contains the concepts and ideas on micro-lending which Yunus espouses.
The other winners of the 2014 Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Global Entrepreneurship Award were: Amer Bukvia for best pioneer project (Bosnia Herzegonina); Muhammed Asfor, best existing project (Bahrain); Sara Al-Otaibi, best female pioneer (Saudi Arabia); Aminah Al-Hawaj, co-winner as best female pioneer; Asma Gaith, best female mentor (Egypt); Lojain Al-Jabbawi, best business plan (UAE); Abhishek Garodia, best project (United Kingdom); Tareq Mansour, best pioneer, 2nd place, Egypt; Thamer Al-Fanshuthi, best male mentor (Saudi Arabia); Khaled Al-Khodair, best existing project, 2nd place (Saudi Arabia); Nasser Muhammed Al-Jasuin, best existing project, 3rd place (UAE); Fidah Abu Turki, best female pioneer, 2nd place (Palestinian Authority); Yusuf Jamjoom, best existing plan, 2nd place (Saudi Arabia); Amal Al-Rumah, best existing project (Saudi Arabia); Ayan Aramadi, best project idea, 2nd place (Palestinian Authority); and Khaled Saed Al-Zahrani, best project idea co-winner, 2nd place (Saudi Arabia).