A Nobel Prize-winning microfinance organisation that helps people escape poverty by launching businesses is extending its work to Hong Kong and says it can help the disaffected young generation. Grameen Bank was established by Muhammad Yunus, “Banker to the Poor”, who shared the prestigious peace prize in 2006. “Among developed regions, Hong Kong has a rather huge social polarisation … we think it is a good place to start the Grameen scheme,” said Gao Zhan, CEO of Grameen China, which already runs microfinance projects in Jiangsu province and Shenzhen. The pair spoke yesterday at Chinese University and explained how running social businesses could tackle poverty around the world, an idea that Yunus, a native of Bangladesh, has promoted since the 1980s. In Hong Kong, where young people often complained of stagnant social mobility, Yunus encouraged them to put their creativity and energy to use in a social business. “We are not job seekers, we are job creators,” he said, adding that working for others was a “waste of human creativity”. Yunus also said that welfare was not the way to help the underprivileged. The solution was to encourage “functioning and self-reliant” individuals. In dynamic Hong Kong, he said, young people just needed a better environment to prosper. “There is nothing wrong with the seed, simply we didn’t give enough soil to grow.” Gao said the group was seeking legal advice to start work in Hong Kong, which has more stringent regulations than mainland China. He said they had contacted more than 10 non-governmental organisations and hoped to seek partnership opportunities. Details are still being finalised.