Years of supporting social entrepreneurship in the UK & Ireland.
Our Key Priorities
Whilst Ashoka has been supporting its Fellows over the last four decades, we have also seen a profound transformation in the dynamics of the world around them. Change began to accelerate. What used to take centuries now takes decades, and what used to take decades now takes years. Trying to fix broken systems involves new challenges to embrace these complex and ever-changing dynamics. For all the great work of social entrepreneurs, we cannot rely on them alone to create the scale of solutions now needed. Indeed, to achieve the necessary scale, we need everyone to step up. This is how Ashoka defines its strategy as we enter this new world – Everyone a Changemaker™.
Ashoka UK and Ireland has worked for over 15 years to support outstanding social innovators with transformative solutions to social issues and now focuses on the following areas:
Searching, selecting, and supporting UK and Ireland’s leading social entrepreneurs
For those elected as Fellows, Ashoka provides tailored lifetime support to scale their solutions’ impact. This ranges from initial monetary support, in the form of a stipend for up to three years, to strategic advice from a global network of peers, experts, and key decision-makers. Learn more about The Ashoka Fellowship programme and how you can get involved.
Enabling our society to embrace social innovation and changemaking
In the last 40 years, we have not only built the world’s largest community of leading social entrepreneurs but also continued to build and empower the field of social entrepreneurship. At the heart of this effort has always been the commitment to make systems change the central goal of social entrepreneurship. Learn more about our work in promoting systems change across sectors and how you can get involved.
Activating all young people to be changemakers
Our mission is to trigger a shift in mindsets across the learning ecosystem in the UK and Ireland so that the experience of education empowers every young person to be a changemaker. Our approach to achieving this is to find, connect and organise social innovators, government, foundations, thought leaders and young people themselves that are already pioneering the field of changemaking. And then, to organise these communities to lead initiatives which eventually tip ecosystems toward a future in which every young person is becoming a changemaker. Here are some examples of young changemakers.
Our Community in the UK & Ireland
For more than 40 years, Ashoka has built and nurtured the largest network of leading social entrepreneurs in the world. After a rigorous selection process, they are introduced to a life-long Fellowship, where every member is committed to championing new patterns of social good. Collectively we co-create Ashoka’s vision of an Everyone a Changemaker world.
Ashoka Support Network
The Ashoka Support Network (ASN) is a global community of committed leaders who share, support, and advocate for Ashoka’s values and vision, whilst unleashing their own potential as changemakers. They join to give back to, learn from and co-create with our community of changemakers. With 350+ members worldwide, and 35 in the UK and Ireland, we have built a powerful network that amplifies our work towards an Everyone a Changemaker society.
Counting more than 300 schools globally to date, the Ashoka Changemaker Schools network aligns around a shared vision: to empower children and young people to be socially minded leaders, with the connection to purpose that enables them to effectively solve problems and drive positive change. In the UK & Ireland we have established a network of 30 Ashoka Changemaker Schools who prove that re imagining education is possible in every context: primary; secondary; free; religious; state-schools.
Alexandra is the Director of Community at Ashoka UK & Ireland, stewarding a thriving network of leading social entrepreneurs, senior business leaders, donors, supporters and partner organisations. Alexandra has a background in marketing and communications having worked in brand management roles at Procter & Gamble before setting up her own coaching and consulting practice. Through that she supported early stage purpose driven ventures with creative problem solving, business strategy and leadership development. She is an On Purpose Fellow and actively involved in numerous organisations as a volunteer.
Kelly, a former Wales and Professional Footballer, is an award-winning Social Entrepreneur and an Ashoka Fellow. She is the youngest woman to obtain an MBA in Football Industries and came up with the idea of her own business, Vi-Ability, a 'for purpose' business that could simultaneously tackle the issues of commercially unsustainable football clubs and youth disengagement from education scaling to 16 European countries, India, and named UK Social Enterprise of the year in 2016. Kelly has successfully exited another start up 'The Good Wash Company' which she co-founded in 2018 to change the mindsets of luxury consumers to ethical purchasing; and been an advisor to Welsh Government on 'Good Business' where she has taken up roles on the Business Wales board and chaired Social Business Wales for several years. Most recently, Kelly directs strategies for Ashoka’s vision of building an Everyone a Changemaker world across multi-stakeholder collaborations.
Felix is the Director of Finance & Operations at Ashoka UK & Ireland, overseeing the finances, HR, governance and operation of the legal entity. Felix previously worked at Aon Hewitt where he became a qualified actuary and consulted on asset-liability management of pension schemes. He obtained an MSc on actuarial science at the Imperial College, and MMORSE at the University of Warwick on mathematics, operational research, statistics and economics (MORSE).
Anu is a Partnerships & ASN Manager at Ashoka UK & Ireland, catalysing and managing funding and strategic relationships with organisations that support Ashoka’s vision. Anu is a former stockbroker at Morgan Stanley, with several years of experience in sales and relationship management. She is also an On Purpose Fellow with experience and interest in social and impact investment. Her change in career was sparked by experiences with purpose-driven organisations, fighting food waste with FoodCycle, and supporting the opening of the world's first Partition Museum in India.
Tatiana is the senior venture manager leading the search for new Ashoka Fellows in the UK & Ireland. Tatiana's background is in international development and she holds an MSc from the London School of Economics in Gender, Development, and Globalisation. Alongside her work at Ashoka she is pursuing a PhD in Social Policy at the University of Edinburgh. She is interested in elite philanthropy in the UK and her research focuses on power, accountability, and social change.
Fadzai is currently an intern for the Venture team at Ashoka, helping in the search for new Ashoka Fellows in the UK & Ireland. Fadzai's background is in Law and she has recently completed an MSc in Human Rights and Diplomacy at the University of Stirling. She is particularly interested in promoting racial and gender equality. In the past she has also volunteered for refugee organisations, assisting in resettlement and language learning. Alongside her work, Fadzai is an avid reader who also enjoys attending music festivals.
Supporting the UK & Ireland and Nordic Venture teams, Todd champions candidates for the Fellowship through our selection process. He is also helping to develop the UK & Ireland office's youth venture programme. Todd was a high school teacher before joining Ashoka and taught at schools in the U.S., China, Japan, Qatar, and the UK. He is a Fulbright Fellow with a keen interest in historiography and contemporary politics.
Shafat is part of the Community team at Ashoka UK & Ireland, stewarding a thriving network of leading social entrepreneurs, young changemakers, business leaders, donors, supporters, and partner organisations. Shafat has a background in building programs to activate changemaking journeys, facilitating ideation sessions, marketing and communications having worked at various startup organisations. He led his own sustainable clothing brand and is extremely passionate about human rights within supply chains. Shafat grew up in Dhaka, Bangladesh and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia. Prior to being on the UK & Ireland team, Shafat worked at the Ashoka Global HQ.
Rhea is a Partnerships and Communications Manager at Ashoka UK & Ireland, building a unified media and frame change strategy to further Ashoka's vision of Everyone a Changemaker. She has spent over 9 years working in the field of content strategy and multimedia design, in industries ranging from corporate marketing and financial products to current affairs and youth education. Rhea is passionate about education, climate and sustainability and powerful storytelling as a medium to affect change in the world.
Prerna is a seasoned development professional with previous experience working in youth social mobility, designing programmes and building partnerships to dismantle access to quality higher education for talented rural youth in India as part of the founding team at the Karta Initiative. Most recently, she worked as a Project Lead at inHive democratising access to networks and social capital across the globe, working across East and West Africa as well as the UK with partners like the Mastercard Foundation to develop their alumni network strategy. She started her career in economic consulting before transitioning to the non-profit sector and has published a number of blogs on the power of networks in tackling social challenges.
Karen is the Senior Finance Manager at Ashoka UK & Ireland and Ashoka Netherlands, responsible for overseeing all financial, project/program and grants accounting in both offices. Karen has worked in the arts and cultural sector for the last 20 years in Senior Finance, Operations and Project Management roles in non-profit, charity, community benefit and business settings. Karen champions new entrepreneurial models, multi-stakeholder engagement and new systems for robust organisational development. Karen undertook a PDip in Arts and Cultural Management at Sussex University with a focus on change management and is currently working towards being an AAT professional member.
Carolina is the HR & Operations Manager at Ashoka UK. Carolina has a background in Global HR, HR Operations and recruitment. She also has strong experience in working with global leaders and entrepreneurs and for the last few years she has been supporting global leaders affected by career transition.
Jaiden is one of the Youth Change Leaders at Ashoka UK & Ireland, creating change specifically in Greater Manchester and engaging other young people to create change. Jaiden has a background in education and social justice activism and works with organisations across the UK to develop strategies for youth engagement.
Richard Johnson is a Challenge & Partnership Manager at Ashoka, working across the Changemakers and Ashoka UK teams. His work focuses you connecting corporates and social entrepreneurs to create lasting solutions to social and environmental problems. He formerly worked at the think-tank and consultancy Volans, researching and advising on business model innovation and the link between sustainability and entrepreneurship. He advised the corporate members of the UN Global Compact, the UK Government’s Innovation agency and a raft of sustainable startups. In 2015 he worked on launching the B Corp certification in the UK, building the community of the first 50 British B Corps. His thoughts on sustainable business have been published in Fast Company magazine and The Guardian.
Thomas is the Senior Search Leader Europe & UK in this role Thomas supports Ashoka in cultivating its ever-growing community of change leaders with a deep understanding of Ashoka’s hiring criteria and extensive experience in stakeholder management and collaborative design solutions. Thomas is also the host of Ashoka’s OneSearch Circle, a position he is excited to use as a platform to design the practical methodology and operating system needed to better support Ashoka's global activation of EACH. Thomas has an entrepreneurial background in design. He became the youngest graduate of Central Saint Martin’s famed MA womenswear course in 2010 before launching his eponymous fashion brand. He went on to garner a list of accolades including the Inaugural LVMH Grand Prize and a British Fashion Award. Thomas lives in London with his partner and their two basset hound twins Dauphine & Marcel.
I've spent almost 40 years fighting for the underdogs. It has been an incredible privilege to be able to do this, in many countries, and through a variety of formal roles many of which I created myself. I have self-identified as a social entrepreneur since I first met Bill Drayton in 1987 and he introduced me to the concept. My roles within Ashoka have also varied over the years, including funder, volunteer, staff, and consultant. Ashoka is my spiritual home and my Hotel California (you can check out but you can never leave).
Elena joined Ashoka in 2013 and leads the selection of new Ashoka Fellows as well as guiding them through Ashoka's rigorous election process. She also manages the Ashoka Support Network as well as the Ashoka Learning Journeys. Previously, Elena worked at Convoco - a think tank that seeks to drive social change by convening leaders from business, politics and academia. She also volunteered for the philanthropy consultancy GivingEvidence. Elena holds a BA in Business Administration from Free University Berlin and a MA in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics, where she specialised in the philosophy and politics of climate change.
Clarice joined Ashoka in 2012 and was responsible for structuring the UK’s back-office. Since 2016, she’s been leading the finance and operations team across Ashoka’s 10+ offices in Europe. In her previous life, Clarice worked for more than 10 years with hospitality, travel and tourism, and was the COO of a travel agency in Rio de Janeiro. She moved to Europe to pursue a double-diploma MA in Sustainable Tourism Management from London Metropolitan University & ESCEM Business School (France), where she specialised in community-based tourism. When living in France, she also worked for CENTRAIDER (Centre for International Cooperation and Solidarity) in Tours, and for the Auvergne Region Tourist Board, in Clermont-Ferrand.
Shrushti is a trained psychologist and comes with an unconventional mix of private and public sector experience. In her most recent role, she is working with Ashoka Innovators for the Public, the organization that pioneered the sector of social entrepreneurship 30+ years ago. She is building the world’s largest network of 3,700+ leading social entrepreneurs, amplifying and connecting a global community that is leading the everyone a changemaker movement. Shrushti recognized the unarguable economic market opportunity and environmental benefits of recycling waste and co-founded Reash, a company that is working on waste management and building circular systems across South Asia. Yoga has a major influence in her life. She has been teaching yoga since the age of 18, with the intention of helping young adults develop a problem-solving attitude through the art form.
Mark is a member of the Leadership Group at Ashoka, based in Hong Kong. Mark started with Ashoka in 2007 as a Senior Advisor on Social Finance, based in London. He became UK Director in 2011, and European Director in 2014. Mark led the European Diamond from 2014-19, before moving to Hong Kong where he has launched the Hong Kong Chapter for Ashoka. Prior to joining Ashoka, Mark founded Chelwood Capital, a global social investment advisory firm, which he continues to actively manage. Mark is recognized as a pioneer in impact investment, and over the past decade has helped raise over $250mn for social causes in areas including micro-finance, clean energy, healthcare, education and conservation. He is a Director of Emerge Education, a leading incubator for ed/tech start-ups, and a founding member of the ClearlySo Angels network, the UK’s first angel investment network for impact investors.