Changemaker of the Year

Changemaker of the Year is an award that highlights young changemakers and their ability to bring about positive societal change.

Graphic of young changemakers, one working at a laptop, one reading and thinking, and one solving a puzzle on the wall

Celebrating and supporting young social entrepreneurs 

With the award we want to support new, innovative solutions to social challenges – initiatives that are founded and run by young people with real potential to grow and scale up.  

In January 2021, the award has been given to two young changemakers in Finland who are currently receiving mentorship by experts in their field of international development, design, strategic consulting and early-stage investment.  

We are also connecting the changemakers to the global Ashoka network of young changemakers, giving them the opportunity to participate in events and develop their solutions further with peer support from all over the world. 

“By receiving this award, I want to encourage and thank the fantastic people who have fought for young people year after year. Children must be children and the best interests of the children must always apply regardless of who they are or where they come from.”

Omid Mahmoudi
Changemaker of the Year Sweden 2019 and founder of Ensamkommandes förbund
Omid Mahmoudi

Everyone needs to be part of making the change because of the scope of the challenges we are facing today. There are enough questions to solve for everyone to be part of changemaking.

Emma Savela, You Tell Me Collective
Changemaker of the Year Finland 2021
Emma Savela
Inspire Youth General Pic

Selection criteria

We are looking for someone who is: ​

  • 16-25 years old​

  • The founder or co-founder of a new social initiative that brings about positive social change linked to equality, health, climate or sustainability, and promotes youth participation and leadership. 

  • Although we believe a really good idea in the hands of an entrepreneurial mind is key to success, we are looking for teams that have already started to work on a solution – maybe you’ve also demonstrated early impact. 

Ismail Abdullahi

What do we mean by Changemaker?

A Changemaker is someone who believes we can all bring about positive change and goes from idea to action in solving societal challenges, mobilizing others as well. We believe changemakers share these traits:

  • Empathy ​

  • Creativity

  • Self-leadership and the power to inspire and lead others

  • Critical thinking

  • The ability to identify important social challenges and find solutions to them!


What do we offer to the Young Changemaker of the Year?

  • Mentoring: professional support to develop and scale your idea from experts in our network

  • Peer network of 40 000+ young changemakers all over the globe, from Argentina to the Philippines. 

  • Connections to Ashoka Fellows, leading social entrepreneurs, who have scaled their solutions and reached national or international impact. 

  • Visibility in Ashoka channels, events and the global community of changemakers that brings together young and more established actors, corporate partners such as Accenture and Ikea and our private partners.