2b Design: A Creative Social Business in Lebanon
(7 pages of text)
The year 2006 marked the beginning of 2b Design, a social business in Lebanon that specialized in creating handmade furniture and decorative pieces. Raja Moubarak and his wife, Benedicte de Blavous, created their business venture around a focused social mission to preserve disappearing art, architecture, and heritage through artistic creations and employing marginalized people, particularly the handicapped and unemployable. By collecting and using wrought-iron and wooden pieces found in scrap yards from old Lebanese homes dating back to the Ottoman Empire, 2b Design managed to preserve a heritage that was increasingly at risk of extinction while both improving lives and maximizing positive environmental impacts through recycling scrap material. 2b Design’s mission was articulated as to “restore the unseen beauty of the broken.” “The broken” referred to the Middle East’s disappearing traditional heritage and to those people whose socioeconomic status or disabilities hindered them from leading a good life. 2b Design’s vision was to replicate the same concept in different countries beyond Lebanon. The founders were keen on exploring various channels that would gradually improve the impact of their business while meeting the dual challenge of long-term sustainability and the transformation of lives.
This case will expose students to the following:
- Identifying a social mission and building an income-generating venture around it.
- The viability of a social enterprise in a developing country that embraces a largely traditional approach to business.
- The key ingredients to building a social business, generating income, and making a sustainable impact.
- The challenges and opportunities faced by social entrepreneurs in developing countries.
- The potential impact a social enterprise can yield.
Lebanon, Small, 2011
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