Maria Ida Palmieri: Bringing Social Business Models within Companies

Maria Ida Palmieri: Bringing Social Business Models within Companies

Ladder works is a publishing platform of various picture books and online curriculum with a mission to empower over one million children to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features our interplanetary journalist Spiffy’s interviews with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Builders and Change Makers who are driving the UN SDGs forward.

Hi friends, it’s Spiffy back on Planet Earth with a look at entrepreneurs who are making the world a fairer place! I have another interview for you this week. Today I have the pleasure of traveling with Maria Ida Palmieri, Managing Partner at The Grameen Creative Lab. Ready to get inspired?

Sweet: Hi Maria, thanks a million for talking to me today. Tell me, what problem does Grameen Creative Lab solve?

Mary: Great to be here, Spiffy! When I was working at the Grameen Creativity Lab (TGCL), we were basically solving a problem – how can we make business as usual more ordinary by putting people and the planet at the center? At TGCL, we have used creativity and innovation, specifically training today’s and tomorrow’s social entrepreneurs and company leaders to embrace social business principles and mindsets as they design and run their businesses, in line with our founder’s vision. Nobel laureate — Professor Muhammad Yunus. The main aspects of our programs were first to analyze the problems in a systematic way.

Sweet: What motivates you to do this?

Mary: When I started my management career at Unilever, while I immediately saw the potential for large companies to accelerate their impact at scale, I also saw that it was not viewed as business as usual. I continued to believe in the power of companies to scale rapidly, but clearly saw the need for new business and leadership models. Therefore, I decided to join a network of trusted organizations under the leadership of Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus – bringing social business models within companies to work effectively in business as usual. At TGCL, we’ve worked with great companies to bring transformative leadership and models within the company, and it’s been amazing to see the growth of the community of entrepreneurs inside!

Sweet: It’s great! What would you say is the impact of your work?

Mary: We focus on developing young people as future and current leaders. We encourage young talents and young social entrepreneurs to first analyze their purpose and adapt it to a specific problem facing our society or the planet. We then guide them to systematically understand these problems and identify innovative and creative solutions to address them, making sure they track the impact they want to achieve. In just three years, we’ve nurtured thousands of young talents from around the world, and we’re so grateful to see the community come back to thank us as we open their eyes to new perspectives!

Sweet: Thank you for speaking with me today, Maria, it’s an honor!

Maria Ida Palmieri, managing partner Grameen Creativity Lab, has ten years of experience as a passionate creative growth hacker advocating to fight poverty, discrimination and the most pressing issues of our time through entrepreneurship, innovation, growth hacking and new empathetic and collaborative leadership styles. After an international study trip and a series of internships at startups, Maria began a career in marketing at Unilever on brands with a purpose. From 2021, he leads The Grameen Creative Lab, an international social business accelerator founded by Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus with the goal of accelerating impact globally through social business and impactful multilateral partnerships. (Submitted by Josef Scarantino at Hubspot Ventures. First published on Ladderworks on January 11, 2024.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Sujit Kunte. Description of Spiffy Shreyas Navare. Visit for Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 children develop the UN SDGs Spiffy’s Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for Kids K-3 and their Caregivers here.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Nasdaq, Inc.

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