Social entrepreneurs, new allies for governments, can help attain equitable, lasting change. Read a summary of the new report on the World Economic Forum Agenda, written by Diana Wells of Ashoka, Victor van Vuuren of International Labour Organization, François Bonnici of Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, and Koen Vermeltfoort of McKinsey & Company.
One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, at a time when the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) seem further out of reach, it is clear that the need to find, fund and support transformative solutions for the challenges we are facing has grown more urgent.
In January 2020, Ashoka and McKinsey, together with Echoing Green, Schwab Foundation, Skoll Foundation and Co-Impact joined forces with systemic social entrepreneurs, united under the Catalyst 2030 banner, to produce a report that framed their endeavours: Embracing Complexity: towards a shared understanding of funding systems change.
Building on that foundation, the New Allies report explores how governments can benefit from collaborating with systemic social entrepreneurs, and the measures they can take to foster that collaboration.
The need for this report is undeniable. With multiple compounding crises to navigate simultaneously, governments across the world are coming under increased pressure to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals. It is equally clear that governments will find it increasingly challenging to realise the structural changes to existing societal systems that are urgently required without the support of systemic social entrepreneurs.
Systemic social entrepreneurs develop participative, people-centric solutions and deliver innovative approaches which can be a great complement to the macro-level perspectives of governments. Systemic social entrepreneurs can be defined as transformation guides for society. They are driven not by economic profit but by the desire to make a positive impact on the world and to find innovative solutions to unsolved challenges.
Below, watch a video of Nicolas Schmit, the European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, endorsing the report.
Watch a recording of the New Allies report launch to hear Catalyst 2030 partners discuss the new research and report insights.
Systems social entrepreneurship is about a distinct way of approaching social problems, not about specific organizational forms or business models. To accelerate SDG achievement, we need to strengthen this entrepreneurial spirit and a culture of collaboration in all sectors."Jeroo BillimoriaChief Facilitator, Catalyst2030
In this extraordinary moment of global peril and promise, “New allies” is both a blueprint and rallying cry for how governments can work in partnership with social entrepreneurs in new ways that drive better results for communities in need. What if over time, social innovation became the way –...Cheryl L. DorseyPresident, Echoing Green
We have an opportunity to build back better and greener, and in doing so, we need to address global environmental and social challenges whilst cementing a foundation built on a sound value system. This is a task ideally tailored to social entrepreneurs, who will define the future."Vic van VuurenDirector: Enterprises, International Labour Organization
Our collective future will be shaped by our commitment to bring about change at pace, at scale and at depth – systems social entrepreneurs are key to realising this.’François BonniciDirector, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, World Economic Forum
There are already many synergies between social entrepreneurs and government, notably a focus on systems-level solutions to address urgent societal challenges – and when they partner together, they can create impact at greater scale. By pairing the innovative solutions from social entrepreneurs...Shivani Garg PatelChief Strategy Officer, Skoll Foundation
Social entrepreneurs are the R&D engine for society – and government. They design, test and debug new approaches that tackle the root causes of social problems. Once shown to work, their innovations inform better policies that increase prosperity, participation and equity for citizens from all walks...Konstanze FrischenGlobal Leadership Member, Ashoka
Governments can act in five areas to create supportive ecosystems that unlock the potential of systems social entrepreneurs
For each of these areas, this report outlines concrete recommendations and provides real-life examples of changes that governments around the world have implemented.
Leverage the power of information by sharing and co-creating data.
Build capabilities among civil servants and systems social entrepreneurs to enable mutual understanding and collaboration.
Develop funding models that recognise the characteristics of systems social entrepreneurs.
Promote collaboration between public sector organisations and between the public, private and social sectors.
Foster institutionalisation by co-creating or adopting successful innovations.
Konstanze is a member of the Leadership Group and leads Ashoka’s new global initiative on Tech & Humanity. She’s also the head of Ashoka in North America. A social anthropologist and journalist by background, she founded Ashoka in her native Germany in 2003 and co-led Ashoka’s emergence and growth in Western Europe, introducing the then radically new concept of social entrepreneurship to the continent. She also co-founded the Globalizer, an initiative re-defining what we mean by scale. She worked for CNN and FAZ and was a board member for GLS Bank, Germany’s leading ethical financial institution, before moving to the US in 2015. She is on the advisory board of CASE at Duke University.
Odin Mühlenbein is a Partner at Ashoka Germany and co-leads the Systems Unit at Ashoka Globalizer. Globalizer develops impact strategies for advanced social entretreneurs from around the world with the goal to promote social system change.
Before his job at Ashoka, Odin worked at McKinsey & Company and co-founded two social ventures that are now led by successors. He studied in Munich, Oxford, and Cambridge and holds degrees in Philosophy, Logic, and Political Sciences.
Florian Rutsch co-created and co-leads the Ashoka Europe Fellowship program including its co-learning modules on systems change strategy, leadership, and multi-stakeholder collaboration, as well as its ecosystem initiatives on funding and supporting system changers.
He co-published the report 'Embracing Complexity: Towards a shared understanding of funding systems change' at the World Economic Forum in collaboration with several global sector partners. It is based on, among others, his previous report 'Seven Steps for Funding System Change'. He is also a co-creator of Catalyst 2030 and the Elders Council for Social Entrepreneurs, as well as a thought partner in the Ashoka Globalizer program, Ashoka's flagship accelerator for system change strategies.
Previously, he co-founded an education campaign reaching 25k young people in 35 countries and supported a range of organisations with social impact strategy, measurement, and stakeholder engagement. He studied business, economics, and social entrepreneurship in the Netherlands, Hong Kong, United States, United Kingdom, and Kenya.