Introducing WISE

Led by Ashoka Arab World’s Regional Director and Vice President of Ashoka Global, Iman Bibars, The Women’s Initiative for Social Entrepreneurship is a movement to redefine success and lead a paradigm shift in how the innovative ecosystem defines, recognizes, and funds impact.
Our theory of change at WISE is that there are 3 types of scaling: scaling up (laws and policies), scaling out (large areas or populations), scaling deep (mindsets and cultural norms)
Women have an impact through all three types of scaling, but the ecosystem, especially funders, only recognize scaling out.
If we redefine success to include all three types of scaling, women’s impact will be recognized and celebrated more at every level, which will catalyze more sustainable solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

WISE program logo

When we reframe the definition of success in a way that better includes and celebrates women social entrepreneurs, we curate an ecosystem that is more likely to inspire and nurture women changemakers.

Iman Bibars
Founder and Team Leader, Women's Initiative for Social Entrepreneurship (WISE)

Don’t give up when you start young as a woman. You continue, you are persistent, you move toward making that change because there’s always that heat inside your heart that says the gut feeling is that you have to do it. That’s something that comes when you start young.

Hasina Kharbhih
Ashoka Fellow India - Founder, Impulse NGO Network

[Success is] changing someone’s mind, someone who is angry and totally in despair to being someone who wants to change things and who knows she can change things, especially as a girl. It’s so powerful; it’s something that fills your soul.

Greta Ríos
Ashoka Fellow, Mexico -Founder, Ollin, A.C
Greta Rios

Beliefs are deeply rooted, it's character deep, impressively deep and profound is what lasts. We all want to have access and time to make a lasting difference.

Elizabeth White
Director British Council Egypt
Elizabeth White

When I began working on the economic development of the Black population, I understood that it was not enough to work just there - I had to work in the whole environment, the whole ecosystem to make change, influence public policy, create a narrative in media [...]

Adriana Barbosa
Ashoka Fellow, Brazil - Founder of Instituto Feira Preta
Adriana Barbosa

I think creative thinking is best served with wisdom.

T. Morgan Dixon
Ashoka Fellow, US - Founder, GirlTrek: Healthy Black Women and Girls
Morgan Dixon

Organised diffusion is a way of scaling, but actually, the scaling is done from within, through the people themselves. That happened because Tostan was able to implement a three-year program. We actually did deep Scaling first.

Molly Melching
Founder of Tostan
Molly Melching

How have we learned to do this over time – first and foremost … to listen to groundbreaking work done at grassroots level, listen to the leaders in communities, to bring out the best practices that stem from all of these different contexts, and to try to bridge the good practices between continents and oftentimes to make them understood to donors...

Miren Bengoa
Director of Foundation Chanel
Miren Bengoa