Montpellier Business School
Yunus Centre

Yunus Centre

For Social Business and Financial Inclusion at Montpellier Business School

What is a “Yunus Centre”?

Building on the activities of the “Social & Sustainable Finance“ Chair as well as the “Social Entrepreneurship & Inclusion” Chair, Montpellier Business School (MBS) inaugurated the “Yunus Centre for Social Business and Financial Inclusion” on October 9, 2019 in the presence of Professor Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner. This project follows Professor Yunus’ lecture at MBS on 4 March 2019 on the topic of ‘Social Business’.

Professor Yunus defines “social business” as a “non-loss, non-dividend company” that aims to contribute to solving the major challenges of our society: poverty, unemployment, environment, health, etc. The Grameen Bank Microfinance Institution is the best known example of such a company.

Why have a Yunus Centre at MBS?

The Yunus Centre is an academic hub created in partnership with the Yunus Centre in Dhaka (Bangladesh) which serves two purposes: first, to educate and raise awareness of social business through specialised courses, diploma programmes, internships and social impact projects; and secondly, to develop research and disseminate new knowledge on this topic.

This double objective can be achieved through the different activities of the centre, such as:

  1. The development of research in the field of social business;
  2. Awarding a prize for the best social business project submitted by a MBS student;
  3. The promotion of courses and specialisations in microfinance, social entrepreneurship, social innovation, management of social economy enterprises, financial inclusion, in particular through the creation of Master of Science specialisations in ” Responsible Finance and Social Innovation ” and ” Entrepreneurship and Management in social and solidarity enterprises ” for students in the 3rd year of the Grande Ecole programme. Promoting internships, apprenticeships or work experience in social businesses both in France and abroad;
  4. Providing support to people wishing to create their own social business, in particular MBS students, but also people who wish to escape from precariousness through business creation.

These activities require collaboration with associations as well as local, regional, national and international companies in order to create an ecosystem of social and solidarity economy project leaders within the School. These activities will lead to workshops and conferences on topics related to social business (microfinance, social entrepreneurship, social and solidarity economy, environment, corporate social responsibility, etc.).

Further information on upcoming activities and events will be available soon on this website.

Professor Yunus said the creation of the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Financial Inclusion at Montpellier Business School “is a great opportunity to further open the minds of the younger generation to the reality of the world and prepare them to find creative ways to solve the world’s growing problems”.


Dr. Anastasia Cozarenco

Centre Director

Dr. Elsa Kassardjian

Development Officer

Dr. Walid A. Nakara

Deputy Director

Our Sponsors



In 2023, the MBS Yunus Centre and the TRIAL group launch the Social Business award with a 10 000 euros prize and a  one year of support from the accounting firm.
The call is available below:


• Cozarenco, A., & Szafarz, A. (2020). The regulation of prosocial lending: Are loan ceilings effective?. Journal of Banking & Finance, 105979.
• Nakara W.A. (2020). Laouiti, R., Chavez, R., & Gharbi, S. (2020). An economic view of entrepreneurial intention. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research.


• Cozarenco, A. & A. Szafarz (2020). Financial inclusion in developed countries: Gender gap or poverty trap? in Hartarska, V. and R. Cull (Eds.) Handbook of Microfinance, Financial Inclusion and Development, Edward Elgar Publishing, forthcoming.
• Nakara W.A. 2020. La précarité chez les femmes entrepreneures de nécessité. In Fimbel E. et Torrès O. (Eds.), Les Faces Cachées de l’Entrepreneuriat. Paris. EMS.
• Gaidos, A. Une approche performative des pratiques d’incubation des innovations sociales. Chapitre dans l’ouvrage “Entrepreneuriat et Société” dirigé par Olivier Germain (ESG UQAM), Sciences de l’Administration Presses de l’Université Laval.


• Cozarenco A. & Szafarz A. “A Tale of Two Criteria: Intersectionality and the Credit Market”, Social and Sustainable Chair Seminar (June, 2021), World Finance Conference (August, 2021), ASSA 2022 Annual Meeting (January, 2022)
• Nakara W. & Etchanchu H. 2020. Entrepreneurial emancipation among socially deprived women. EGOS Colloquium, July 2-4, Hamburg, Germany.
• Douaihy C. Messghem K. & Nakara W.A..2020. Entrepreneurship and poverty: a systematic literature review and research agenda. Rent Conference, November 18-19.


• Creation of the Master of Science Sustainable and Inclusive Finance.
• April to June  2021: Social entrepreneurship specialisation with 23 students.


• January 2021: Le Monde des Grandes Ecoles et des Universités, Dr Anastasia Cozarenco and Dr Thi Hong Van Hoang, MBS crée la Chaire Finance Sociale & Durable pour construire une économie inclusive et responsable
• December 2020: Focus RH, Dr Anastasia Cozarenco and Dr Thi Hong Van Hoang, Montpellier Business School crée la chaire Finance sociale et durable.
• December 2020:, Dr Anastasia Cozarenco and Dr Thi Hong Van Hoang, MBS crée la Chaire Finance Sociale et Durable.
• November 2020 : Webinaire Entrepreneuriat Social, Dr Walid Nakara, co-organisé avec la Social Cup Team, formation de 32 étudiants de Montpellier Business School.
• November 2020: The Conversation, Dr Anastasia Cozarenco, Microcrédit : même bien intentionnée, la réglementation peut éloigner des objectifs sociaux (see appendix).
• September 2020: Dr Anastasia Cozarenco a contribué aux Rencontres du Développement Durable, une conférence organisée sous le haut patronage du président de la République, Monsieur Emmanuel Macron.
• June 2020 : The Conversation, Dr Walid Nakara, Les quatre leviers pour rendre l’entreprise plus inclusive.
• June 2020:, Dr Anastasia Cozarenco, Finance sociale : un modèle alternatif et résilient face aux nouvelles crises économiques ?
• February 2020 : Conference sur le changement climatique et la transition environnementale avec Rob Hopkins.
• January 2020: Conférence sur l’Entrepreneuriat Social organisée par le Yunus Centre de Montpellier Business School avec Ryan Gersava, Entrepreneur Social des Philippines, Fabien Courteille, Entrepreneur Social aux Philippines et membre de NGO ACTED et Riad Chajiddine, Intrapreneur @i-Lab, Air Liquide innovation’s lab.
• January 2020: Dr Anastasia Cozarenco gave a public conference entitled “Microfinance et social business” as part of the “Agora des savoirs” in Montpellier.
• October 2019: Article published in l’Occitanie (régional newspaper) to announce the launch of the Yunus Centre of Montpellier Business School. 


In August 2020, a consortium of which Montpellier Business School is part, obtained European ERASMUS+ funding. The funded project is called Social Enterprise through Virtual Environments and Remote Entrepreneurship (SEVERE), spans 3 years and has a total budget of 437 k euros.

The objective of SEVERE is to develop a transnational program to nurture entrepreneurial mindsets and skills in order to encourage active citizenship and social entrepreneurship.
The consortium is made up of the following institutions, 4 of which have Yunus Centres:
– Glasgow Caledonian University (Scotland)
– Dublin City University (Ireland)
– University of Florence (Italy)
– University Pompeu Fabra (Spain)
– University Aveiro (Portugal)
– Montpellier Business School (France)

This project consists of 4 areas of activity:

Area 1 – Handbook : development of a remote work manual
Area 2– Training: oversee the selection of students for the organization of virtual social innovation projects; organize the summer school, the winter school and the pitching workshops. Montpellier Business School is co-responsible for this component with Dublin City University.
Area 3- Virtual incubation : integrate the methodologies and processes of the manual (WP2) into the virtual incubation platform; ensure that the platform supports students throughout the validation period – Montpellier Business School is co-responsible for this component with Dublin City University.
Area 4– Internships: virtual internships platform.


For more information on the SEVERE project, please visit the dedicated website :


• September 2022: The Piching workshop took place in Florence. The students were able to present the progress of their work to investors and social entrepreneurs.

• April 2022 : The project’s winter school was held from April 4 to 7 in Montpellier. During this event, the students were able to continue working on their social entrepreneurship projects.

• September 2021 : The SEVERE project summer school was held from September 5 to 10. This event brought together students, teachers, programs….. During this summer school, the remote work manual (handbook) was made public and available on the website.


What is a social business?
A social business is a type of a social enterprise. Social enterprises are businesses set up to address a social or environmental need. Many commercial businesses would consider themselves to have social objectives, but social enterprises are distinctive because their social and/or environmental purpose is central to their activity. A social business as a fully self-sustainable company fulfilling social objectives (Yunus et al., 2010). The main difference between a social business and a social enterprise is that in the former no dividends are distributed to shareholders and all surpluses are reinvested in the achievement of the social mission.

What are some examples of social enterprises / social businesses ?
Social enterprises are present worldwide. Some examples of social enterprises are BioClean (Italy), Patagonia (US), Dentalmobilis (Belgium), Triodos Bank (The Netherlands) (Serres & Hudon, 2019). In France, examples of social companies are EQOsphere, Baluchon, Simplon, La Ruche qui dit oui, l’équipe 1083, CAMIF Matelsom, Nuova Vista. Some of these social enterprises are also social businesses in case they comply with the policy of no dividend distribution to shareholders.

Are social businesses not-for-profit and therefore not intended to make a profit?
Social businesses are businesses. They need to make a profit to compete in the market, to ensure their continued survival and to invest in their social or environmental aims. For many social businesses, being sustainable – in every sense of the word – enables them to become more independent and to reduce any dependency on public grants. It also ensures they can continue to help provide a solution for a social or environmental problem.

What legal structure does a social business have?
Social businesses use a wide variety of legal forms including classic for-profit legal statuses. In France, social businesses fall under the regulatory framework based on the principles and scope of the social and solidarity economy.

Serres, C. & Hudon, M. (2019). Toward the emergence of a for-profit social enterprise paradigm: the case of social companies. Mimeo.
Yunus, M., Moingeon, B., & Lehmann-Ortega, L. (2010). Building Social Business Models: Lessons from the Grameen Experience. Long Range Planning, 43(2), 308–325.

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