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Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus to keynote Social Business Challenge of Oregon university students

Contact: Di Saunders - Office: 503-725-5714; Cell: 971-219-6869; diane_saunders@ous.edu

Source: Bridget Burns – Office: 503-725-5735; bridget_burns@ous.edu

PORTLAND, August 28, 2012 – Professor Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner and creator of the microcredit concept, will deliver the keynote address at the Oregon University System’s (OUS) “Oregon Social Business Challenge” on October 1 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. Special guest speaker Governor John Kitzhaber will be in attendance to address the economic challenges faced by our state.

The Social Business Challenge will gather public and private university students from across Oregon in a competition to develop creative, practical business responses to some of the state’s most pressing local and regional issues using social business approaches. The top-performing team in the competition will receive incubation support to develop their winning idea into a social business that can be implemented.

Social businesses meet the economic, environmental and social needs of communities through an entrepreneurial business approach that holds community development and improvement as the most important outcomes. They are cause-driven businesses, and their ultimate goal is not simply to maximize profit, but to use innovation to overcome current and often systemic local or regional needs.

“At the heart of the Social Business Challenge is the need to combine principles of business and community engagement with inquiry and higher education,” said George Pernsteiner, OUS chancellor. ”Oregon’s problems are often collective ones affecting many communities in rural, valley and urban areas of the state. Our students understand the need to work together across sectors, organizations and regions to solve these problems by harnessing the best that we all have to offer. We’re excited to see their social business proposals and how these might be deployed effectively for Oregon.”

Pernsteiner added, “We couldn’t be more delighted to have Professor Yunus be a part of the Challenge. The movement that he is leading is the kind of community engagement model which students are exposed to at Oregon University System campuses: community-based, locally-driven, and innovative in how we think about and approach basic, but often chronic problems.”

The Challenge will be held at the Oregon Convention Center on October 1, from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm. Information about the event, including online registration, is available at www.ous.edu/socialbusiness

About Oregon University System

Oregon’s seven public universities including one branch campus provide high-quality academic programs reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services, and lifelong learning. OUS is proud to host the Oregon Social Business Challenge as part of the system’s statewide education and economic development partnership efforts.