Ashoka in the News

June 30, 2014

Awards in partnership with Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and in collaboration with Ashoka offer young entrepreneurs over €200,000 in financial and mentoring support.

Building on the success of the 2013 Awards, Unilever is once again inviting young people to come up with practical and innovative solutions to some of the world’s biggest sustainability challenges and enter them in the Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards. 


Open to anyone aged 30 or under, Unilever is looking for scalable and sustainable products, services or applications that reduce environmental impacts,  improve health and well-being or enhance livelihoods through changes in practices or behaviours.

The Awards, run in partnership with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), and in collaboration with Ashoka, offer seven young people a total of more than €200,000 in financial support and individually tailored mentoring. The overall winner also receives the prestigious HRH The Prince of Wales Young Sustainability Entrepreneur Prize.

All seven finalists take part in an online development programme and then participate in a two-day accelerator workshop at Cambridge University, UK, where expert help and professional guidance is provided to help them develop their ideas.

The Awards are hosted online at Ashoka Changemakers, a community that connects social entrepreneurs around the globe to share ideas, inspire, and mentor each other, at   Applications open today and must be submitted by the closing date of 12 midnight BST on 01 August 2014. Finalists will be announced in late October 2014, with the Cambridge accelerator workshop and final judging in January 2015.

Last year over 500 young entrepreneurs from more than 90 countries entered the Awards. Winning projects ranged from a mobile data and messaging system that tracks water supply and optimises use in India, to low-cost chicken-feed made from waste mango seed in Nigeria; and from water-less toilets in rural Peru to a work-for-education swap scheme in Nepal, whereby the children of low-income farm workers receive education in return for their parents donating their labour to a farming collective.

The overall winner – who won €50,000 and the HRH The Prince of Wales Prize – was Gamal Albinsaid, a 24 year old Indonesian, who addressed two sustainability challenges with one idea: converting the value in household waste into health insurance for low income families. This inspiring initiative is now being turned into a repeatable model in communities throughout Indonesia.

Commenting on the Awards, Unilever CEO Paul Polman said: “I believe that youth hold the key to unlocking solutions to many of the challenges our planet faces and last year’s finalists are proof of this. Young people will soon represent 50 percent of the population in developing and emerging countries, but they are 100 percent of the future, so it’s absolutely vital we continue to enrol them in the task of making sustainable living commonplace and invest in their ideas. ”

Polly Courtice, LVO, Director of CISL, said: “The first year of the Unilever awards highlighted the creativity and entrepreneurial dynamism of young people across the world in tackling critical sustainability issues.  We are delighted to bring the research insight of the Cambridge community together with our worldwide network of business leaders, to support these awards in encouraging the innovation and leadership we so urgently need.”

About the Competition Partners:

About Unilever

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home and Personal Care products with sales in over 190 countries. We work with 174,000 colleagues around the world and generated annual sales of €49.8 billion in 2013. Over half of our company’s footprint is in the faster growing developing and emerging markets (57% in 2013). Working to create a better future every day, we help people feel good, look good and get more out of life. Our portfolio includes some of the world’s best known brands, 14 of which - Knorr, Persil / Omo, Dove, Sunsilk, Hellmann’s, Surf, Lipton, Rexona / Sure, Wall’s ice cream, Lux, Flora / Becel, Rama / Blue Band, Magnum and Axe / Lynx - now generate a turnover of €1 billion or more.

Our ambition is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing our overall environmental footprint (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal) and increasing our positive social impact. We are committed to helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, sourcing all our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020, and decoupling our growth from our environmental impact. Supporting our three big goals, we have defined nine pillars, underpinned by targets encompassing social, environmental and economic areas. See more on the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan at

Unilever has been recognised in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes for 14 consecutive years. We are included in the FTSE4Good Index Series and attained a top environmental score of 5, leading to inclusion in the FTSE4Good Environmental Leaders Europe 40 Index. Unilever has been named sector leader of the CDP’s Forests programme for three consecutive years, and in 2013 led the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the GlobeScan/SustainAbility annual survey - for the third year running. Unilever was named LinkedIn’s third most sought-after employer worldwide in 2013.

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit

About University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) brings together business, government and academia to find solutions to critical sustainability challenges.

Capitalising on the world-class, multidisciplinary strengths of the University of Cambridge, CISL deepens leaders’ insight and understanding through its executive programmes, builds deep, strategic engagement with leadership companies, and creates opportunities for collaborative enquiry and action through its business platforms.

Over 25 years, CISL have developed a leadership network with more than 5,000 alumni from leading global organisations and an expert team of Fellows, Senior Associates and staff. HRH The Prince of Wales is the patron of CISL and has inspired and supported many of the institute’s initiatives.

About Ashoka Changemakers

Ashoka Changemakers is a community of action that connects social entrepreneurs around the globe to share ideas, inspire, and mentor each other.  Through its online collaborative competitions and open-source process, is one of the world’s most robust spaces for launching, discussing, and funding ideas to solve the world’s most pressing social problems. Changemakers builds on Ashoka's three-decade history and belief that we all have the ability to be a Changemaker.

June 4, 2014
Ashoka Scandinavia

Ashoka Takes Sports Without Boarders out to the World!

Ashoka Scandinavia, representing the world's largest organization for social entrepreneurship in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, has selected Admir Lukacevic – founder of Sports Without Borders (IUG)– as its newest Ashoka Fellow in Sweden. Through sports and role models, IUG inspires thousands of young people from diverse backgrounds to see possibilities in life and believe in themselves and their potential to achieve their dreams.

Ashoka for 30 years, has identified and supported visionaries worldwide who find solutions for the world's toughest social problems. They are elected as Ashoka Fellows and supported through a global network of investors, partners and supporters – such as Deloitte, McKinsey & Co., Geelmuyden.Kiese and LEGO – enabling them to further develop and expand their social impact in ways that not only more positive change is created in the world, but more people are also inspired to be ”changemakers” themselves.

"Ashoka Fellows are leading social entrepreneurs who have innovative solutions to social problems and the potential to change patterns across society”, says Rebecca Altman, Venture and Fellowship Manager at Ashoka Scandinavia.

Since its establishment in 2004, Sports Without Borders (IUG) has reached over 6,000 young people and is currently working with 200 schools in Sweden. IUG has operations in Norrköping and Södertälje, and expanding to more cities and schools. By actively participating in sports - from basketball to horse riding - young people can relate to opportunities in life, which motivates and builds their confidence to pursue dreams, participate in school, and achieve goals as ”team players”.

”A person’s surroundings and relationships strongly influence behavior and mindset. IUG engages society as a whole – including local associations, schools, teachers, universities, businesses and municipalities – to form meaningful interatctions and role models for young people and help them see possibilities for their future as members of society”, says Admir Lukacevic

A survey Ashoka Scandinavia conducted in collaboration with YouGov reveals that almost half of the population is completely unfamiliar with the term social entrepreneurship, and 64% of respondents think it is the government’s responsibility in solve society's most difficult challenges. Quite the contrary, social entrepreneurship is increasing in the region. There are clear signs that the field is growing in the region.

“Here in Sweden we get daily nominations of social entrepreneurs who have found a solution to any social problem and that we should be looking into. Sweden is crawling with people who have community-changing ideas and who need help, support or just advice on how to proceed with their idea”, comments Maja Frankel, Director of Ashoka Scandinavia

Ashoka is now operating in Scandinavia for 2 years, and Admir Lukacevic is the 6th Swedish social entrepreneur elected into the Ashoka Fellowship totalling 17 Ashoka Fellows across Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Other Ashoka Fellows from Sweden include Johan Wendt (Mattecentrum), Dennis Lennartsson (SpreadtheSign) and Sofia Appelgren (Mitt Liv).

Being an Ashoka Fellow means joining a lifelong journey with a borderless global community of venture and professional support which fosters their growth and engages them as leading changemakers in inspiring the growth of a wider community of changemakers. Ashoka’s dream is to reach an Everyone A Changemaker world and Ashoka Fellows are proof that it is possible to solve social challenges. The journey to 3000 Fellows, which the organization reached in 2014, is the beginning to building a world where everyone creates positive change.

About Admir Lukacevic:

1993: Admir is a refugee in a segregated residential area of ​​xenophobic Landskrona. Social affiliation plays a role in his development and he begins to build his dreams based on what he sees in his area. As a young person, he clearly sees what the problem and the solution was and begins to slowly develop the idea that he strongly believes in - Sports Without Borders (IUG).

2008-2010: After obstacles, setbacks, police escorts - yet also courage, compassion, decisiveness - he is awarded the Kompassrosen scholarship from Konungens Stiftelse Ungt Ledarskap for giving hundreds of young people meaningful employment and new goals in life. He goes on to develop his leadership and training by attending SNS Samhällsprogram and Företagsekonomi at IFL Handelshögskolan, among others.

2010: He establishes the organization Sports Without Borders Sweden AB.

2012: Honored to be the Swedish representative in The International Visitor Leadership Program and The Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative.

2013: Named one of Sweden’s 101 Super Talents of Veckans Affärer, placing 35th.

2014: Elected as an Ashoka Fellow, the 17th Scandinavian Fellow to join Ashoka's global network! 

Admir Lukacevik introduces us to Sports Without Borders
(Idrott Utan Gränser) 

June 3, 2014

Ashoka, världens största organisation för socialt entreprenörskap, och, en av Sveriges största ungdomsplattformar, vill tillsammans få unga att bry sig mer om samhällsförändring.

Under juni månad kommer de två organisationerna att genom upplysa om och inspirera till ungt socialt entreprenörskap. Med kampanjen som heter Vem bryr sig? vill de uppmana de hundratusentals unga som besöker sajten att identifiera och hitta lösningar på samhällsutmaningar i sin närhet. 
– Vi på Ashoka vill att socialt entreprenörskap ska vara ett lika självklart yrkesval för unga som det är att jobba på café, utbilda sig till ekonom eller bli lärare. Vi pratar dagligen med unga som berättar om sitt engagemang och sina bra idéer för att förbättra samhället – men ser att det saknas både information och stödstrukturer för dem att genomföra dessa. Kampanjen Vem bryr sig? är ett första steg mot att belysa möjligheterna som ligger i ungt socialt entreprenörskap, säger Nathalie Ahlstedt Mantel, Projektledare, Ashoka Skandinavien. har sedan 2000 arbetat för att skapa ett schyst samhälle där unga tas på allvar, inkluderas och får pepp och stöd i vardagen. Ett av projekten de driver är we_change – Sveriges största gymnasiesatsning på hållbar utveckling.
– På och i våra olika projekt finns en enorm potential att inspirera och engagera unga i socialt entreprenörskap. Under we_change, som i april besökte nästan 10 000 gymnasieelever på sju orter, märktes ett tydligt mönster av att unga vill engagera sig men inte riktigt vet hur de ska gå tillväga. Det behövs bättre verktyg för att komma igång och samarbetet med Ashoka är ett utmärkt sätt att förbättra ungas möjligheter att vara med och bidra till ett mer hållbart samhälle, säger Kim Jakobsson, vd,

Kampanjen hittar du här:

Om har sedan år 2000 arbetat för att skapa ett schyst samhälle där unga tas på allvar, inkluderas och får pepp och stöd i vardagen. Utöver webbsajten med 100 000 unika besökare i veckan driver även hållbarhetsprojektet we_change, vars syfte är att inspirera och hjälpa unga att skapa en mer hållbar värld, samt ungdomssysselsättningsprojektet Palla Jobba!.

I februari 2014 lanserade Kom igen! - en unik, forskningsbaserad sajt som ska öka kunskap och förståelse för, samt förebygga, psykisk och fysisk ohälsa bland landets unga.

Om Ashoka
Ashoka är världens ledande organisation för socialt entreprenörskap och changemaking. Under de senaste 30 åren har Ashoka valt 3000 ledande sociala entreprenörer till Ashoka Fellows, försett dem med stipendier, professionellt stöd och tillgång till ett globalt nätverk av likasinnade i 80+ länder.  Förutom att stötta ledande sociala entreprenörer arbetar Ashoka med ungdomar, institutioner, företag och enskilda för att multiplicera antalet Changemakers i världen. Ashoka arbetar för en ”Everyone a Changemaker”-värld – en värld som reagerar snabbt och effektivt på sociala utmaningar, och där varje individ har friheten, förtroendet och samhällets stöd för att ta itu med sociala problem och driva på förändring. Ashoka Skandinavien öppnade sitt kontor i Stockholm 2012.

May 14, 2014

 Globale nettverk gir sosial endring

Å være entreprenør kan være en ensom tilværelse. For en sosial entreprenør er det som regel også en ganske kostbar tilværelse.

Det å finne et nettverk av andre som har de samme interesser kan være en stor inspirasjon.  Dersom andre kan gi av sine erfaringer, vil sjansen for å lykkes øke.  Og den som gir av sine erfaringer kan glede seg over å se at andre lykkes.  Nettverk som skaper forandring gir vinn-vinn situasjoner.  Det er derfor de er så givende, og det er derfor de nå vokser i omfang.  Men nettverkene har først en stor samfunnsnytte når de brukes aktivt nettopp for å skape forandring. 

Etter å ha operert i stor grad av isolasjon, opplever nå stadig flere forandringsagenter en hel verden av likesinnede, og det knyttes bånd over landegrenser, generasjonsgrenser, politiske, religiøse, faglige og etniske grenser.  Målet er sosial forandring. 

Når vi i år arrangerer vår fjerde Partnership for Change-konferanse kan vi både vise til konkrete resultater av møter mellom sosiale entreprenører, næringsliv og etablerte, frivillige organisasjoner og til virksomheter etablert i vår egen regi.  Flere av årets deltakere er hentet fra prosjekter vi selv driver, og partnere vi nå har et nært samarbeid med, takket være tidligere PfC konferanser og andre møteplasser vi deltar på.

Ashoka og Acumen er to eksempler på vår tids store globale nettverk av unge og eldre forandringsagenter.  Medlemmene er dyktige entreprenører, næringslivsledere, ledere fra profesjoner som medisin og jus, samt akademia, kunst og kultur.  Sammen jobber nettverkene for sosial forandring over landegrensene og innenfor en rekke områder.  Alle arbeider for et felles mål, med ulike verktøy og metoder. 

"There is nothing more powerful than a systems-changing idea in the hands of an entrepreneur." 

Det er denne erkjennelsen som ligger bak Bill Draytons etablering av Ashoka for over 30 år siden.  Ashoka er nå verdens ledende organisasjon for sosiale entreprenører. 

I dag har Ashoka over 3000 Fellows, sosiale entreprenører fra 72 land, som gjennom støtten fra Ashoka kan drive effektiv sosial forandring innen det feltet den enkelte entreprenør brenner for.   Gjennom Ashoka, kan vi hente idéer som har fungert i ett land, og tilpasse dem vårt eget.  Ved hjelp av nettverket får de sosiale entreprenørene muligheten til å skape forandring i stor skala.  Og vi kan hjelpe en sosial entreprenør til å globalisere sin virksomhet.  Norge har et raskt voksende Ashoka nettverk.

Når nye nettverk etableres hjelper de etablerte dem, og nettverkene smelter fort inn i hverandre.  NEXUS er et godt eksempel på dette.  Etablert i 2011, har NEXUS i dag over 2000 medlemmer fra mer enn 70 land.  NEXUS har blitt en viktig spiller i arbeidet for sosial forandring, og mange etablerte nettverk bistår. NEXUS arbeider for å inspirere neste generasjons ledere over hele verden til å se sin rolle som forandringsagenter, og å koble sosiale entreprenører og investorer sammen for å skape forandring.

”A bold new way of tackling poverty that’s about dignity, not dependence, and choice, not charity.”

Dette var Jacqueline Novogratz drøm da hun etablerte Acumen i 2001.  Hun ville vise at man skaper økonomisk vekst i et land ved å hjelpe befolkningen til å bygge økonomisk bærekraftig virksomhet, fremfor å gi dem almisser.  Støtten fra Acumen gis i form av investeringer som følges ad med operativ og strategisk bistand – over tid.  Når bedriften har nådd et visst nivå, selger Acumen aksjene til investorer som ser inntektsmuligheter.  Midlene reinvesteres i nye virksomheter som kan bidra til å skape sosial endring.  Fordi Jacqueline Novogratz og Acumen har et aktivt nettverk globalt, og man vet at Acumen gjør et godt arbeid, vil enhver investering fra Acumen´s side åpne dørene for betydelige investeringer fra andre.  På denne måten skapes store ringvirkninger av Acumen´s innsats.  Over 100 millioner mennesker har fått et bedre liv takket være Acumen. 

Dette kalles venture filantropi, og bygger på de samme prinsipper som venture kapital.  Man investerer tidlig i en entreprenørs virksomhet, hjelper vedkommende til å vokse, har et langsiktig perspektiv, og selger seg ut når virksomheten er veletablert.  For en venture kapitalinvestor vil avkastningen være finansiell, for en venture filantrop er avkastningen samfunnsnytte.   De fleste venture filantroper har bygget opp sin formue gjennom venture kapital, og det er gjerne de ofte kritiserte ”finansfolkene” som leder an i effektivisering av sosial endring.

Da vi arrangerte Partnership for Change konferansen første gang i Norge i 2011, var det nettopp for å bidra til å gjøre nettverk som Ashoka og Acumen bedre kjent i Norge.  Vi ville vise hvordan sosiale entreprenører skaper sosial forandring, og hvordan partnerskap bidrar til å skalere forandringen gjennom aktive nettverk.   Nå er Ashoka og Acumen etablert i Norge og er i god vekst.  NEXUS er i ferd med å etableres i Norge, og i år har Partnership for Change med NEXUS som partner.

Forandring har sitt utspring på grasrotnivå, og skjer lokalt. Det er den enkelte entreprenør som skaper sosial forandring.  Fordi samfunnsproblemer ofte er de samme i mange land, og mange problemer, som fattigdom, ungdomsarbeidsledighet og klimaforandring er globale, er det først når de lokale endringene skaleres til flere geografiske områder at virkningen blir signifikant.  Derfor er nettverkene viktige.   Flere og flere ser at vi må skape tydelig endring i hvordan vi bruker ressursene, og hvordan vi samhandler i samfunnet – at vi trenger å skape varig sosial endring.  Nettverkene bidrar til at lokal sosial forandring kan bli global, og at den kan bli varig.

Ingrid Stange er stifter og leder av Partnership for Change.  Partnership for Change-konferansen er Norges største møteplass for sosiale entreprenører og filantroper, og går av stabelen i Oslo 14. og 15. mai. Årets tema er hvordan vi alle kan bli viktige forandringsagenter og har tittelen «Turning the Tide – Methods for lasting Social Impact».



April 10, 2014

By Ashoka Scandinavia, Ashoka Ireland, and Ashoka UK

This week, deep in the heart of LEGOLAND in Billund, Denmark, 500 educationalists convened at the ‘IDEA Conference’ to discuss the growing need to ‘reimagine learning’ for a rapidly changing world. With a keynote from Ashoka Founder and CEO Bill Drayton, the conference launched a 3-year partnership between The LEGO Foundation and Ashoka, which will radically address the role of play in empowering children to become creative, engaged, 
and lifelong learners. 

It’s no coincidence that the origins of such an innovative approach to an ancient tradition stem in Denmark! Across Northern Europe we are seeing an outburst of new models of teaching and learning where creativity and teamwork are central to exploring subject areas, and where leadership and empathy are incorporated into the peer-to-peer interactions and the daily learning experience.

Playful Learning

In over 250 schools across Ireland, and thousands more around the world, children between the ages of 5 and 12 take lessons from a newborn baby. 

From about 3 months of age, the Roots of Empathy baby, parent and instructor team begin a series of classroom visits, guiding young learners through a journey of personal discovery and a greater understanding of their classmates’ feelings.

Having a baby and their mum or dad in the classroom helps teach children to manage their own behavior and response to situations” says Robert O’Leary, principal of Sacred Heart Senior National School, the first to pilot the program in Ireland through local partner Barnardos.

Globally, almost 80% of Roots of Empathy students show increased peer acceptance and 65% show increased pro-social behavior – traits that are touching, but also strategically imperative as these children grow into organizations that are increasingly global and diverse.

Elsewhere in Ireland, a Playworks pilot program is underway in Galway Educate Together National School, with students of 11 and 12 years of age taking on the role of junior coaches, leading a program of active, inclusive play for younger students throughout the school. 

Playworks provides the basis for learning which is necessary for further child development, allowing children to explore their imaginations, to connect with other people and to grow physically, emotionally and socially,” says Bernard Kirk, Director of the Galway Education centre. “Most importantly, the older students learn to lead in the most chaotic environment there is – the playground. Nothing could prepare them better for the future.”

Similar programs designed by Ashoka Fellows are taking place across Scandinavia Forskerfabrikken (Scientist Factory) in Norway creates, connects and collaborates to make science and mathematics fun and engaging for young learners with an aim to stimulate a positive development of science and technology in society. Mattecentrum in Sweden is creating a network of programs that make the learning and application of mathematics in the real world vibrant, exciting, and recognized as a key skill for success in the future. Trivselsprogram (Wellbeing Program) in Norway unleashes the active, playful, and empathetic nature of young people in Scandinavia through peer-based role modeling at recess. A future where young people consider it “cool to be nice” is becoming ever more a reality in schools.

Reimagining Learning for a Changing World

Through financial and enterprise education, UK based Ashoka Fellow Lily Lapenna is working to tackle chronic levels of unemployment in young people. Her organization MyBnk gives teenagers and young adults the knowledge they don’t get in everyday lessons and the life skills they need to stay out of unmanageable debt, to save regularly, to understand how banks work and make the big move into independence. This, coupled with an increasing culture of entrepreneurship is testament to the need for curriculums to greater align with a changing professional landscape. Focused on an older age group, MyBnK’s programmes build on the principles of play with real-life experiential learning.

”Education has a major impact on how society will be structured in the future. If we cultivate core skills of empathy, teamwork, leadership and creativity among young people, we can prepare them to better address change and social challenges as adults.” – Maja Frankel, Director of Ashoka Scandinavia.

We already see the world’s leading companies clamoring for employees who have these skills. Knowledge is no longer enough. We all must be creative, flexible, and empathic problem-solvers. Yet only a handful of the world’s children are consistently provided with the creative learning environments and opportunities necessary to help them develop these skills. Alongside a search for innovations around ‘Play2Learn’ in partnership with The LEGO Foundation, Ashoka are tackling this head-on with the launch of ‘Changemaker Schools’ - an urgent call for systemic change to reimagine what we mean by ‘education’ in a changing world.

How we Reimagine Learning

  • To be playful, creative, and engaging, tapping into young people’s passion, curiosity,imagination.
  • To develop critical skills of empathy, collaboration, leadership, and problem solving.
  • To engage students and teachers as creative changemakers, not passive participants.

Learn about the Changemaker School program in your region:

Scandinavia  Ireland  United Kingdom

Ashoka Scandinavia learns about Changemaker Schools by actively searching in Sweden, Norway and Denmark to identify them and through nominations from you - our community! Nominate schools to the program, by going to our online Nomination Form and download the Program Brochure for details on the value of being a Changemaker School!  

The LEGO Foundation and Ashoka are teaming up in an effort to transform the way the world learns. If you're designing environments where kids and adults learn through play, whether at home, in a classroom, or on a playground, they want to hear about it. Ten star “Players” will be named Champions of learning through play in November 2014, and will receive cash prizes totalling more than $200,000, as well as technical assistance and in-kind support. Up for the challenge?
This article comes in a series entitled ‘Beyond Social Entrepreneurship’ where Ashoka will be commenting in celebration of #AshokaAtSkoll
March 14, 2014
Forum for Social Innovation Sweden (Mötesplats Social Innovation)

How can we prepare children today to be the change they will wish to see tomorrow? One of the answers might lie in Ashoka's new initiative, Changemaker Schools. The team at Ashoka Scandinavia gives us thoughts behind this idea.

The Nordic region is known for it’s leadership in Education and many countries’ educational systems are interested in models of teaching and learning used in schools to identify new ways of teaching and learning in order to develop tomorrow’s adults.

In the last few years however, we have been seeing much debate around the Educational Systems in Sweden, Norway and Denmark whether it be the age a child needs to go to school or the process and purpose of a particular curriculum – with conversations emerging around school performances, student achievement and student drop out rates across the region.

In parallel, we have also been seeing an outburst of new models of designing and delivering school curriculums and new methods of student-teacher-school interactions that not only prepare tomorrow’s professionals, but also tomorrow’s society. For example, Forskerfabrikken (Scientist Factory) in Norway is building a culture of experiential learning and cutting edge science to teach Science; Mattecentrum in Sweden is creating a network of math programs to make math vibrant, exciting, and respected as a key skill for success; and Pøbelprosjektet in Norway works with young people who drop out of school by designing educational programs around the resources they already have to contribute to society and enter the job market.

Since society is constantly changing so is education. With change come many opportunities to act on and make it become what we wish to see it turn into – from how we interact and express ourselves, to the how we build and understand everything around us. Yet, in order to keep up with this change, foresee it and act on it, we need to cultivate skills that enable us to become individuals with freedom, confidence and support from each other to drive it in a positive direction.

Ashoka, as a leading organization for social entrepreneurship has been working with change for over 30 years. Through its work and support of 3,000 men and women who are solving the world’s toughest challenges – Ashoka Fellows – the organization has realized that making change move in a positive direction relates to having the Changemaker Skills of Empathy, Creativity, Leadership, and Teamwork. Ashoka calls individuals who have these skills – Changemakers – and believes that being a changemaker is possible as early as childhood.

To begin cultivating Changemaker Skills among children, Ashoka has developed the Changemaker Schools Program worldwide and Ashoka Scandinavia will be launching the program this year in Sweden, Norway and Denmark.

As part of this launch, Ashoka Scandinavia in partnership with the Ekskäret Foundation, gathered 12 co-creators from Sweden, Norway and Denmark to a Changemaker School Summit between February 13 and 14 – “Education for Change: Changemaker Schools and Skills in Scandinavia” – in an effort to delve into how the Education System needs to transform in Scandinavia in order to cultivate these skills among young people.

Participants included innovators in the education sector, thought leaders, Ashoka Fellows, social entrepreneurs, teachers, principals and local representatives from the education system who discussed topics such as:

  • The purpose of Education and how the Education System can develop Changemakers;
  • How teachers, students, parents and everyone involved in students’ learning can understand and integrate Changemaker Skills into the curriculum, school environment and society;
  • Ways society at large can work together to identify, connect, and support schools who are already equipping students with these skills – Changemaker Schools;
  • Ways Changemaker Schools can connect with other schools wishing to integrate Changemaker Skills into their daily work with children, share best practice and inspire new ways of thinking within the educational system; and
  • A world where every child understands and expresses empathy, creativity, leadership and teamwork to bring about lasting change in their communities, organizations, lives, and society, wherever they are most needed as adults.

A few insights from the discussions included a need to develop skills among students that can prepare them for an ever-changing world. In addition, there was an interest to identify ways social entrepreneurs could offer examples of how changemaker skills could be applied in a subject area to contribute to society. Moreover, it was suggested that schools and teachers who are cultivating these skills among students in Changemaker Schools could be great collaborators to co-create new learning tools and methodologies that can be shared with other schools. Finally, there were reflections on the possibility of schools that are teaching Changemaker skills to be positive role models for other schools within a county or region.

”Education has an impact how society is structured in the future. If we cultivate Changemaker Skills among young people, we can prepare them to better address change and social challenges as youth and adults. The Changemaker School Summit gave us hope in seeing how important these skills are to the Scandinavian region.” – Maja Frankel, Director of Ashoka Scandinavia.

Ashoka Scandinavia believes that the Education System and everyone involved in children’s teaching, learning and skills development can prepare today, tomorrow’s Changemakers. As the team builds the program in the region, it will be organizing future opportunities for schools, teachers and educational experts to connect and meet with social entrepreneurs, social innovators and thought leaders within Ashoka’s Changemaker School Program.

Want to know more about the program or insights from the Summit? Contact: Yatin Sethi at


February 28, 2014
Forum for Social Innovation Sweden (Mötesplats Social Innovation)

This February Ashoka Scandinavia gathered 14 young social entrepreneurs from Sweden, Norway and Denmark at Ekskäret Island for a 3-day Young Changemaker Camp. The purpose was for them to meet, exchange experiences and start much needed discussions about what is needed to develop the field of young changemaking in Scandinavia.

Through the Changemaker Tour that Ashoka conducted in the spring of 2013, we met a lot of young people with an idea to change society for the better. That made us very happy and inspired, but we also realized through talking to these young people, that the infrastructure supporting young social entrepreneurs in Scandinavia is almost non-existing.

So we decided to do something about this need, and as a start we invited young changemakers to a 3-day Young Changemaker Camp.

Through a rigorous application process where Ashoka Scandinavia received hundreds of nominations, we elected 14 young changemakers to join our Camp. They all had in common that they were between 18-30 years old, residents in Scandinavia, concerned about certain social challenges in their communities and were actively trying to solve them through an idea or an organization.

We gathered them on a remote island in Stockholm’s archipelago during three cold days in February were we had lectures on social entrepreneurship, workshops about self-leadership, feedback sessions and discussions to develop their ideas and organizations, as well as themselves as Changemakers. Activities also consisted of hands-on tools they could learn and apply to their ideas and organizations such as time management and social impact measurement tools, and pitch training to name a few examples.

But the Young Changemaker Camp was not only to support those selected. It was also a place for Ashoka to gather learnings about what kind of support young changemakers in Scandinavia need in order to grow their ideas, inspire others to become changemakers and together with Ashoka create a world where every young person has the freedom, confidence and societal support to address any social problem and drive change.

As a result, Ashoka is now developing the Young Changemaker Program in Scandinavia based on the learnings from the Young Changemaker Camp. Do you have ideas, thoughts or insights on young changemaking in Scandinavia and how we can make it grow? Let us know!

Young Changemaker Camps are a partnership between Ashoka Scandinavia and the Ekskäret Foundation.

Read more about Ashoka’s work with young changemakers here and view photos and updates on Facebook and Twitter. Contact our offices at for details.

Related Articles


January 29, 2014

A new European online competition designed to source, highlight and catalyze innovative cross-sector collaboration between the social, business and public sectors across Europe is announced today by Ashoka, the Zermatt Summit Foundation, Fondation Guilé, DPD and Boehringer Ingelheim. Winners will be announced at the prestigious Zermatt Summit on June 27, 2014.

Entries are now open for “Social & Business Co-Creation: collaboration for impact, a competition hosted on the online Ashoka Changemakers platform. All social-mission organizations (e.g. NGO, association, not-for-profit, foundation, social enterprise), businesses and public institutions who work together to create change in Europe can apply. Europe has been facing an unprecedented level of unemployment, growing poverty, government deficits and low GDP growth. No player can address these challenges alone.  Ashoka and its partners are looking for projects that illustrate new forms of interaction between the social, business and public sectors, with the aim of creating both social and economic value at scale.

Ashoka, the global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, and its partners are looking for the boldest projects with the potential to create lasting change. Competition entries can cover a wide range of solutions, from innovative job creation schemes, to the development of new products and services to address essential needs of underserved populations or “last mile” solutions to make these accessible to all. At the core of each project should be the potential to create a more human and inclusive economy, change organizational structures and enable professionals at all levels to become engaged changemakers who turn problems into opportunities. A true change in hearts and minds.

Applications must be submitted online at by the closing date of 10 April 2014. Finalists will be announced in May 2014 with the Zermatt Summit final pitch and judging in June 2014. The winners and finalists will attend the Zermatt Summit and the Awards Ceremony on 25-27 June 2014.

Bill Drayton, CEO and Founder of Ashoka said:

Businesses should ‘look for walls’ preventing partnerships. When an obstruction between business and society is torn down to solve a problem, prosperity follows. (...) businesses should look for places where nontraditional services offer sustainable alternatives to traditionally indifferent commerce, acts of charity, or government services. Partnerships with nonprofits, it turns out, can be profitable for both society and business in their long-term interests.



Join us in surfacing pioneering solutions that show that social-mission organizations, businesses and public players “tear down walls” to achieve impact at scale. Spread the word to others or Follow updates (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) by searching and tagging posts with #SocBizCoCreation.

Contact Despina on Our Team to become a Media Partner or Network Partner today! 

January 28, 2014
Ashoka Scandinavia

CITYMART.COM, the world’s leading marketplace for innovations in cities has secured a $1M Investment deal with Tharald Nustad, Norwegian investor of investment company Plastilin and Ashoka Support Member (ASN) of Ashoka Scandinavia.

The agreement, which values the company upwards of $3M, is designed to secure the organization’s next phase of growth and development and its long-term market independence by a deal equally emphasizing governance, social impact as well as clear opportunities for return.

The investment of $1M will give Tharald Nustad an equal share to’s founders, who are committed to a common social impact purpose. It will also enable the creation of an independent conflict-resolution organization that will protect the marketplace from conflicts of interest and manipulation, as well as help to further develop its online tools (e.g. localization functions, project validation systems), which have been adopted by 25 global cities to date and are revolutionizing the accessibility of public contracts for SMEs and start-ups.

Ashoka, the world’s largest organization of leading social entrepreneurs and changemakers, played a key role in matching the investment needs of with a social impact-oriented investor and member of Ashoka Support Network – a global network of successful business leaders focused on changing the world with changemakers.  

Founders of Dr. Jakob H. Rasmussen and Sascha Haselmayer - who has been an Ashoka Fellow since 2011 - helped to pre-qualify the organization for investment. Sascha Haselmayer's Ashoka Fellowship was an important quality stamp for Nustad as Ashoka staff and expert supporters advised on the deal.’s follows the vision to help 557,000 global cities global cities and their local governments use their spending and regulatory powers to generate solutions for greater good of citizens. By building a fair and open marketplace which connects cities, vendors, organizations and citizens, has helped 50+ global cities such as San Francisco, London, Lagos, Barcelona, Fukuoka and Moscow to identify and source innovative urban, social and technological solutions for their cities and citizens. For example, plans to extend its 2-year strategic partnerships with Moscow, which will help reform the $25 billion annual procurement process in the city.

The investment concluded a fundraising process which exceeds the general pattern of startup-to-venture investment seen in most markets. Through a rigorous process of identifying an investor who, in addition to interests to invest in a venture, is also committed to helping secure the venture’s social impact, the independence of the marketplace and scalable growth is secured. As an ASN, Tharald Nustad was drawn to the investment opportunity because the partnership with represented a commitment to social impact, company viability and venture growth which is being fostered by leading social entrepreneurs that are alleviating a major challenge effecting cities, governments and citizens worldwide. 

For more information, please contact Ashoka Scandinavia.

September 17, 2013

Ashoka Scandinavia are pleased to announce the election of 4 new Ashoka Fellows in Scandinavia for 2013!

Dennis Lennartsson (Sweden), Eddi Eidsvåg (Norway), Kjartan Eide (Norway), and Lone Koldby (Norway) all passed Ashoka’s lengthy and rigorous search and selection process as of last week and are now officially a part of the Ashoka Fellowship.

Below you can read more about each of our new Fellows. During the coming weeks we will also share more links, information and videos of each Fellow in our social media channels, so make sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to learn more! 

Dennis Lennartsson, European Sign Language Center (ESLC)  

 Problem he is solving: Of the 70 million deaf people in the world, 80% are unable to read or write. Today, learning sign languages is expensive and is often taught through classes that are rarely individualized or specialized in their content. Due to these limitations, many parents and family members often lack the tools needed to engage with their loved ones. 

The idea: ESLC is combining a free of charge global platform of signs, a network of local partners and tools fostering the inclusion of illiterate and deaf in society as full economic citizens. 


Eddi Eidsvåg, Pobelsprojektet 

Problem he is solving: One third of young people in Norway drop out of school before completing high school. Many of them do not know the resources they already have to offer and the opportunities they can take advantage of.

The idea: Eddi has designed a program around what resources these young people already have to contribute to society, which he is proving are attractive to the job market. Pøbelprosjektet has formed a network of more than one thousand Pøbel businesses that agree to take on Pøbel youth after training.

Kjartan Eide, Trivsellederne


Problem he is solving: In many schools, young children experience boredom and inactivity during recess, leaving a gap where conflict, bullying, and poor health outcomes easily emerge.

The idea: Trivselsprogrammet (TL), is an activity program for continuous active play in elementary and junior high schools. Through student elected “Activity Leaders”  TL are instilling practice of personal leadership, active play, and teamwork, Kjartan enables children to create a school environment that is free from verbal and physical bullying.

Lone Koldby, Aktivitetsdosetten  

 Problem she is solving: Many elderly in nursing homes today experience poor life quality and insufficient fulfillment of their rights as individuals. They are prescribed more medicine than necessary leading to many elderly spending upwards of 18 hours per day sleeping or sitting passively.  

The idea: Aktivitetsdosetten are incorporating individualized activity and social interaction into daily life, with the same priority as medicines have today. Nursing staff is trained as “activity doctors” and “prescribe” activities based on the patients’ interests.


Help keep the movement alive! Nominate Ashoka Fellow candidates that you feel meet the criteria of New Idea, Entrepreneurial Quality, Creativity, Social Impact, and Ethical Fiber by going to Deadline to Nominate Candidates: December 15, 2013. Thank you for contributing to our efforts to reach an Everyone a Changemaker World!