Erlijn holds a Master in Industrial Engineering & Management Sciences from the Technical Univerity of Eindhoven and a Masters degree in South East Asian language and culture at the University of Leiden. She started her career in the corporate sector, working as a financial and strategic advisor for major Dutch companies like ABN, KLM Dutch Airlines and the national government. In 2006, she co-founded Microcredit for Mothers, a foundation catering to the poorest of the poor women in Southeast Asia, reaching out to thousands of families. For the last ten years she has been working in the traditional NGO sector as corporate-partnership manager and program-manager. Next to that, she was interim MD for Banking with the Poor Network in Singapore, StoereVrouwen, en HandOn Microkrediet.
Ashoka was founded in 1981 by Bill Drayton and in over 35 years, Ashoka has become the largest network of social entrepreneurs worldwide with more than 3000 Ashoka Fellows working in 93 countries putting their system-changing ideas into practice on a global scale.
Ashoka Netherlands, part of the Ashoka European Hub, was launched in 2014. Our aim is to stimulate and support the most innovative entrepreneurial solutions to the social and environmental challenges we face today and, together with our inspiring stakeholders, our goal is to create an “Everyone A Changemaker” world. This means equipping more people, including young people, with the skillset and a connection to purpose so that they can contribute ideas and effectively solve problems in their worlds - be it in their family, community, city, workplace, field, industry, country, or beyond. We provide professional support services and connections to a global network across the business and social sectors, and a platform for people dedicated to changing the world.
Our longest running program is the Venture and Fellowship program, where we select catalytic social entrepreneurs, with the potential to not only achieve impact in their organization, but change a whole system. We have selected the region’s most innovative and system-changing problem solvers to join our community.
We are also building a community of education institutions that prioritize the cultivation of empathy, teamwork, leadership, and changemaking in their students. The first step has been to identify and select an exemplary network of 9 Changemaker Schools in The Netherlands, where students are empowered to become changemakers- young people who have the skills and confidence to change the world for the common good. We connect these changemakers to each other, and to our Global Change Leaders (GCL) network worldwide.
We also focus on Co-Creation and Changemaker Alliances where social entrepreneurs, businesses, and policy makers complement each other’s skills and expertise to take on challenges that no one could solve alone, and simultaneously have access to new strategic win-win opportunities. We have run several successful co-creation programs with our group of corporate and private partners. The 2016 Globalizer program with the Philips Foundation is a good example of such a co-creation project.
Always supporting us in these programs, is the Ashoka Support Network (ASN), a community of highly skilled professionals and business people, with a passion for creative and entrepreneurial change. They share our vision and support our fellows financially as well as strategically, offering their time, network and expertise.
Ashoka Venture and Fellowship
Over the last 35 years, Ashoka has pioneered the field of social entrepreneurship by globally selecting Ashoka Fellows. These fellows are leading social entrepreneurs who are tackling the toughest challenges facing society today in areas that include health and wellbeing, education, environment, and employment. Since launching Ashoka in the Netherlands in 2014, we have elected and supported a number of Dutch social innovators who are bringin system change in the Netherlands and beyond.
Ashoka Changemaker Schools
We believe that anyone can become a changemaker and we strive for a world in which every young person is equipped and inclined to contribute to the common good. In order to empower every young person to become a changemaker, we need to change the way in which we educate young people. Ashoka launched the Changemaker Schools Programme to build a community of education institutions that prioritize the cultivation of empathy, teamwork, leadership, and changemaking in their students. We work to connect these schools and support them in leading the transformation of learning in the Netherlands.
Not only in the Netherlands, but around the world, Change leaders are transforming education silos into empowering learning ecosystems. Their impact could be even greater, if they were aligned, collaborative and systemic. By weaving institutional partnerships that leverage the power of key organisations, the GCL empowers and inspires Change Leaders to aligh, collaborate, and achieve deep and enduring systemic change at scale. Weaving and connecting are central to the transformations of whole-system prototypes, where entire cities, districts and countries can serve as an example of empowering learning ecosystems.
In bringing together our worldwide network of innovators, early adopters, organisation leaders, thought-leaders, and system experts. The GCL helps innovations spread globally and systems change at every level. We are an online global platform for collaborative action.It is only by working together, systemically, at scale, that we can reach our goal of empowering young people to live for the greater good.
Ashoka Support Network
The Ashoka Support Network (ASN) is a global community of successful, innovative leaders from a variety of fields, who connect with the world's leading social entrepreneurs to accelerate positive social change. They support Ashoka financially as well as strategically, offering their time, network and expertise.
In the Netherlands, we have a strong community of ASN members who provide their guidance and expertise to Ashoka Fellows and Changemaker Schools, supporting them to amplify their social impact. They do so in several key ways:
Building Networks for Fellows
Becoming Ambassadors for Fellows and Ashoka
Sitting on Advisory Boards
Bringing in Expertise
Building New Partnerships
Globally, the Ashoka Support Network consists of over 400 members in 20 countries throughout Europe, North America, South America, India, and beyond -as it continues to expand.
Are you a business leader and do you want to share your expertise?
Join the Ashoka Support Network in Netherlands, a network of experts, entrepreneurs and professionals in support of social entrepreneurs.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to learn more about how members bring value to and benefit from the Ashoka network, and email [email protected] with any questions about ASN.
I am a social entrepreneur and I get inspired daily by the possibilities of this era. My entrepreneurial spirit grows when I encounter injustice, see opportunities and, in particular if the problems seem to be so complex that we needs to solve them outside existing frameworks.
I am founder of several initiatives. Two years ago Ashoka rewarded me with a fellowship. My fellowship was because of my efforts and results with Young in Prison. I founded the organisation Young in Prison in 2002 with the believe that the world needs to urgently rethink its definition of juvenile justice. Aware of the impact of detention on the youth.
Currently I am part of the Ashoka team. I have successfully handed over the Young in Prison and am working on developing the Visionary Program on Circular Economy.