Finding the World's Leading Social Entrepreneurs


Ashoka's Venture Program

Ashoka's Venture Program, or the search and selection of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, is the heart of Ashoka. For 30 years, the organization has been at the forefront of identifying and electing these leading social entrepreneurs into the Ashoka Fellowship, which is a life-long network of support, community and connection. We believe that the growth of a global citizen sector begins with the work of individual social entrepreneurs who are changing patterns and transforming systems. These entrepreneurs drive the sector forward, responding to new challenges and changing needs. Irrespective of where their work is rooted, they think and act globally. Through their work, they inspire and empower others to transform their fields, communities, society - wherever they are most needed. They are global role models and pioneer a world where Everyone can be a Changemaker.

Before they are elected into the Ashoka Fellowship, all leading social entrepreneurs globally undergo a rigorous Search and Selection Process, evaluated against 5 key Selection Criteria: 



Honed over three decades, the selection process is reliably and consistently applied across the globe and consists of the following stages:


Leading Social Entrepreneurs are ...

Leading Social Entrepreneurs as the engines of social change and role models for the citizen sector. They are individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems. They are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change. Rather than leaving societal needs to the government or business sectors, social entrepreneurs find what is not working and solve the problem by changing the system, spreading the solution, and persuading entire societies to move in different directions.

Social entrepreneurs commit their lives to changing the direction of their field. They are visionaries, yet at the same time realists. They present user-friendly, understandable, and ethical ideas in ways that citizens are engaged in their vision and empowered to channel ideas into action - proof that everyone can address social problems, drive change and inspire others to become local and global changemakers.