of Fellows have seen their idea replicated by independent groups
The Ashoka Fellowship
For more than 40 years, Ashoka has built and nurtured the largest network of leading social entrepreneurs in the world by electing them as Fellows.
Upon election, we invite Fellows into a life-long Fellowship and a global community of peers, where every member is committed to championing new patterns of social good. While some receive financial support in form of an unrestricted, needs-assessed stipend, the main value of the Fellowship lies in the support Fellows access throughout their entrepreneurial journeys, for example, through access to pro-bono legal advice, coaching and leadership development. Ashoka offers both structured courses and trainings, such as online webinars on systems change and social finance, as well as ad hoc and personal support. While we navigate and channel our Fellows’ needs and opportunities, it is our community that expands and adds most of the value we can provide.
Who is an Ashoka Fellow?
Ashoka engages the world’s largest and most powerful network of social entrepreneurs by searching for and selecting the world’s leading social entrepreneurs: Ashoka Fellows. These leading social entrepreneurs define the roadmaps that allow people to thrive in this new environment, while providing solutions and demonstrating the how-tos.
What are the criteria to be an Ashoka Fellow?
At the heart of our process to elect Fellows are five criteria shown below which all candidates must meet to become a Fellow. These criteria help maintain the integrity of the Fellowship and allow for consistency and mutual respect within the diversity of the network.
What is the process to be elected an Ashoka Fellow?
Before becoming a Fellow, a candidate undergoes an intensive process of interviews, background checks, and critique at a local and global level. Successful candidates will have founded or co-founded their organisation, and they must be able to commit 100% of their time to implementing their new idea for at least three years from election. And while Ashoka celebrates the contributions of all social entrepreneurs, it focuses its support on those operating not-for-profits.
The Search and Selection process allows Ashoka to screen candidates against its criteria to maintain quality and integrity in the Fellowship.
Nomination: A candidate can either be nominated by someone within the Ashoka network, someone in their field, or even themselves. All nominations are recorded by local country staff for further review.
First Opinion Review: Local Ashoka Representatives now review a candidate, interview them, perform site visits, check references and the candidate's background. In this step they carefully assess that the candidate meets Ashoka's criteria within the context of the region.
Second Opinion Review: If local staff proposes the candidate for the Fellowship, they are then interviewed by a senior member of the Ashoka network approved as a representative from the global Board of Directors from outside the region to assure an unbiased application of the criteria.
Selection Panel: If the 2nd Opinion Review was successful also, the candidate is then interviewed by three experts and entrepreneurs (including an Ashoka Fellow) from the region who can appropriately assess the newness of the idea and the other criteria. A final recommendation of election is then made to the Global Board of Directors.
Global Board Review: After rigorous revisions, final materials about each candidate are presented to the Global Board of Directors for final approval.
From start to finish, the selection process generally takes from four to nine months.