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Allocution de Son Altesse Royale la Grande-Duchesse prononcée l’occasion du workshop de promotion du "Social Business" à l’Université de Luxembourg, le 9 février 2011

Dear Minister Schneider,

Dear Professor Tarrach,

Dear students,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am very honored to participate in this first workshop on Social Business at the University of Luxembourg.

Today, we all meet in a classroom – students, scientists and managers as well as representatives of non-profit organisations, of ministries and of institutions! Our common goal is to reflect on the promotion and the implementation of Social Business in Luxembourg.

As you all know, this is not only a one-day workshop on Social Business, but a kick-off meeting for a dynamic process that will last this whole year. Universities and research centres such as the University of Luxembourg and the CRP Henri Tudor, in collaboration with the “Département de l’économie solidaire” of the Ministry of Economy, are playing an essential role in the further development of this new approach. An approach that can only gain from reflection on the academic level.

This is why I am very grateful that the University of Luxembourg offers us a platform for this reflection in order to foster Social Business, and to help in the development of good pratices with public and private partners.

In the beginning of 2010 I had the pleasure and the joy of introducing the concept of Social Business, with the support of Hans Reitz from the Grameen Creative Lab, to two persons who are here today: Prof. Rolf Tarrach and Mr. Thomas Seale. Both understood the potential of this new and challenging practice for the social sector, as well as for our own economies.

I wish to thank them and the team from Wiesbaden for their commitment in the field of Social Business and for their continuous support. Others, representatives from the university, from ministries, from NGO’s and from the business sector joined our reflection-group at the Palace a few months later. I was also very grateful that a delegation from Luxembourg joined me and my eldest son, Prince Guillaume, at the Global Social Business Summit in Wolfsburg, last autumn.

I am convinced that the visionary concept developed by Professor Muhammad Yunus, winner of the Nobel Peace Price, is a chance for our generation and the next, to improve the situation of those who are still marginalised in our society by transforming ideas into actions in a more active consciousness of our social responsibility. Solving a social problem by developing a sustainable non-profit-business requires courage, creativity, excellence, a true commitment to those in need, selflessness and a true openness of mind.

Social businesses exist already in several countries. It is, I believe, our common task to study how they can be implemented in the Grand Duchy. I am looking forward to hear more this morning about some very interesting initiatives that exist already in the spirit of Social Business in Luxembourg. I believe that we have as private and public partners, as non-governmental actors, as entrepreneurs and as students a common responsibility in this hopeful beginning of something new and better.

Together with those concerned by the problems we are addressing, we can develop new ideas and transform social activities that depend mostly on subsidies, into sustainable social businesses.

Ladies and Gentlemen, dear students, please consider this short address at the beginning of this workshop as an appeal to action: Working together on Social Business and developing creative ideas and new projects is a capital investment in social justice, in the restoration of human dignity and in the future of our society. I am deeply convinced that this new dimension of Social Business in our economies can make a real difference in the life of the most vulnerable and therefore in our society as a whole.

I hope, that in a few years, when people look back at the beginning of Social Business in Luxembourg, they will say: Everything started on a 9th of February, in a classroom!

I wish us all a very inspiring and motivating day and I trust in your ongoing commitment to serve the people in need.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.