Quick Ashoka Facts

What is Ashoka?

Ashoka is the world’s largest organization for social entrepreneurship and changemaking. 

How was Ashoka founded?

Bill Drayton, who coined the term "social entrepreneurs", founded Ashoka in the USA in 1980 and elected the first Ashoka Fellow in 1981. Ashoka was first to apply the principles of the business sector to the civil sector in a systematic way, to find innovative solutions to urgent social problems around the world. Today Ashoka is present in 82+ countries. 

What does Ashoka do?

Over the past 30 years, Ashoka has elected over 3,000 leading social entrepreneurs as Ashoka Fellows, providing them with social, intellectual and financial capital to support the growth and scale of their social impact, and, access to a global network of peers in 82+ countries. The organization also works with young people to cultivate their Changemaker Skils - empathy, creativity, leadership and teamwork - and, as well as engage them in programs and initiatives related to social entrepreneurship and changemaking. Finally, to create a more competitive civil society and lasting positive change in the world, Ashoka creates an infrastructure whereby companies, foundations, academic institutions, investors and individuals can come together to partner, co-create, and support regional and global efforts to scale the social impact of Ashoka Fellows and multiply the number of Changemakers.

What does Ashoka mean by 'Everyone A Changemaker'?

Ashoka's vision - Everyone A Changemaker - is a vision of the world where more and more people respond efficiently and imaginatively to social problems, and where each person has the freedom, confidence, skills, and societal support to address any social problem and drive change. 

This has massive implications for how children grow up and learn, how cities organize for the future, how companies think about talent and strategy, how philanthropists think about impact, and how societies define success and development. An 'Everyone A Changemaker' world is both more resilient and more inclusive because each person – regardless of age or background – will play a role in shaping the future.

Everyone A Changemaker

What is a social entrepreneur and why does Ashoka search for 'leading social entrepreneurs'?

A social entrepreneur is an individual that use business-like principals to build organizations that solve a social problem they care passionately about. Their main goal is not economic profit but sustainable social impact. They have an innovative approach, and tackle the root of the problem, rather than the symptoms. Ashoka searches for leading social entrepreneurs because they are changing patterns and transforming systems, driving a field or sector forward, responding to new challenges and changing needs. Irrespective of where their work is based, these individuals 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.

Finding the World's Leading Social Entrepreneurs

Who are Ashoka Fellows?

Ashoka Fellows are leading social entrepreneurs who drive forward innovative solutions to social problems that are changing patterns across society. They demonstrate unrivaled commitment to bold new ideas and prove that empathy, creativity, leadership and teamwork are tremendous forces for change. They are world-class social entrepreneurs that have gone through Ashoka's Search and Selection process and who we believe have the potential to create positive social change at the systemic level both nationally and internationally.

Could I be an Ashoka Fellow?

Ashoka has a very rigorous Search and Selection process based on 5 selection criteria. If you would like to be considered for the Fellowship, you can Nominate yourself. Please keep in mind that this process is lengthy and rigorous, and we may not be able to respond to you right away

Can I suggest a leading social entrepreneur to Ashoka for the Fellowship?

Yes, Ashoka is open to receiving nominations and you can Nominate individuals throughout the year. 

When was Ashoka established in Scandinavia?

Ashoka has been electing Fellows from Scandinavia for several years, but Ashoka Scandinavia was formally established in 2012 with a base office in Stockholm to cover the regions of Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Today, Ashoka Scandinavia has a network of Ashoka Fellows, partners and investors in the region, as well as a growing community of supporters of social entrepreneurship and changemaking. 

Where is Ashoka headquartered?

Ashoka is a politically and religiously independent non-governmental organization with global headquarters are in Washington D.C., USA. 

How is Ashoka funded and supported?

To be independent, Ashoka across the world does not accept government funding. Instead, individuals, companies, organizations and foundations that share our commitment to change, social innovation, social impact, and that have high ethical standards in driving social impact, invest in Ashoka.

Invest in Ashoka's vision and Social Impact

Join the Ashoka Support Network

I would like to get in touch with Ashoka Scandinavia for an exclusive interview, video, story, or to speak/present at my event. How can I reach you? 

For all media, speaking, or presentation enquiries, please can contact us via web, email or phone at +46 8 23 23 76. Please send us a brief description of your media/event concept, your audience, dates and locations if possible so that we can better assist you and get back to you as soon as possible.