Ashoka Bangladesh was launched in 1987 when we began supporting system change social entrepreneurs in the country, as Ashoka Fellows. To date, we have supported more than 70 men and women with creative new approaches for solving social problems and connected them into a dynamic peer network to help them grow their ideas and impact.

Today Ashoka is the world’s largest network of leading social entrepreneurs and ranks among the top 5 NGOs of the world.

Impacting millions of people and communities through their work, our Fellows include people like agriculture development activist  Shykh Seraj, human rights defender Shahidul Islam Chowdhury (Uttaran), Philip Gain (SEHD) and Salma Ali (BNWLA).  Working in socio-economic upliftment, people like Humaira Islam (Shakti Foundation) and Prof. Hosne Ara Begum (TMSS), author and activist of the rural ultra poor Runa Khan (Friendship NGO), among several others.

Currently, we have over 70+ Ashoka Fellows in wide-ranging fields such as farming, education, human rights, finance, local media, and women and youth empowerment, across Bangladesh. Our Global Academy members include Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus (Grameen Bank) and World Food Prize Awardee Sir Fazle Hasan Abed (BRAC) from Bangladesh

Ashoka Bangladesh functions as a collaborative network that supports and amplifies change by bringing together these changemakers.

In the course of our work, having witnessed the changing patterns in society over close to three decades, and the way our problems are increasing at a pace faster than we can solve them, we have realized that to truly make things better for everyone we need to head towards a world where everyone is a changemaker. And just like social entrepreneurs, the world needs everyone to start practicing skills like empathy, teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving.

To this end, we believe that changemaking has to start young, and through our programs like Youth Venture and Venture and Fellowship, we find, develop, and support young changemakers, enabling them to be role models in their communities, and give them the skills to thrive in our changing world.


Our Programs

For more than 35 years, Ashoka has built and nurtured the largest network of leading social entrepreneurs in the world. Since Ashoka’s founding in 1981, Venture & Fellowship has been the core of our work, developed and refined to identify leading social entrepreneurs with transformative ideas and provide them with the support and community they need to thrive. Ashoka’s role is to bet on these entrepreneurs at a key time in their trajectory when minimal resources have maximal leverage. In this way, year after year, we seed ideas that represent potentially groundbreaking paths forward for society. In the process we collect insights and spot patterns that guide the rest of our work and that enable our partners—and society at large—see with more clarity the direction the world is moving.

The venture program is the mechanism through which Ashoka searches and selects the world’s leading social entrepreneurs as Ashoka Fellows. It remains the flagship program under which Ashoka was founded and remains at the heart of Ashoka's strategy.

Ashoka supports system-changing new ideas in the hands of entrepreneurial individuals across sectors. After a rigorous selection process, they are introduced to a life-long fellowship, where every member is committed to championing new patterns of social good. We understand the individual needs of social entrepreneurs vary depending on the stage of their work. Once selected, each Ashoka Fellow embarks on a tailored timeline of investments and support over their lifetime. We make sure that the Ashoka brand, the engagements we curate and facilitate, and the connections we open are valuable to each Fellow. We invite Fellows to make the most of the network through interactions that will increase their chances for deepening their social impact. Some of the support Fellows will enjoy include:

·       A tailored stipend for up to three years, if needed, for the Fellow to dedicate themselves full time to the advancement of their idea

·       Customized engagement opportunities that accelerate their impact

·       Increased visibility

·       A global community of peers

To learn more about our criteria and selection process, see here. We take nominations throughout the year. To nominate, please visit here.

Our diverse network of over 70+ Fellows in the region has a significant impact on systems and lives of citizens.  

Fellows have said that the Ashoka Fellowship gives them an identity, a community, and the network to do more.

Over the last 20 years, Ashoka’s Youth Venture (YV) Initiative has supported more than 18,000 teams to practice changemaking through its “Dream it, Do It Challenge” methodology, which takes a young person through the process of dreaming, developing, launching and sharing a youth-led social venture. Worldwide, YV has impacted 360,000 young people in more than 50 countries. 

Adults today who started something in their teens are four times as likely to be C-level leaders and five times as likely to be founders. This will become exponentially more so as the world tips fully into an ‘Everyone a Changemaker’ future.

Ashoka Bangladesh's Youth Venture program is cultivating and equipping an ecosystem that supports youth to be changemakers. We have helped hundreds of young people (12-20 years old) to have their own dreams, build teams, and change their world (school, community). Beginning in October 2016, we have till now elected 23 Youth Venturers across Bangladesh.

Through their initiatives, Youth Venturers are role models in their community, proving that it is possible to be actively engaged and to Lead Young. Beyond their immediate surrounding, they also convey their message of change by participating in large outreach events in Bangladesh.

Ashoka Youth Venture builds partnerships with educational institutes, youth organizations, and state governments to help support young people. It creates national amplification platforms so that young people can spread their ideas and get support from experienced mentors.

Our mission is to cultivate an ecosystem that values and supports young people to be changemakers by:

  • Investing in young people to have the transformative experience of launching and leading their own lasting ventures.
  • Creating a critical mass of young people who collectively redefine the youth years as a time of positive contribution.
  • Spreading our message that investing in young people to become changemakers is the key factor for success in every part of society; and
  • Connecting our Venturers to a global network of changemakers


South Asia Representative/Global Partnerships, Leadership Group Member
Vishnu leads Ashoka South Asia's efforts to create an "Everyone... ...more

Our Partners

Porticus is an international organisation that manages and develops the philanthropic programmes of charitable entities established by Brenninkmeijer family entrepreneurs

Connect with Ashoka Bangladesh

Currently we don't have a local
office in Bangladesh. Please
email us to set up a meeting.