The selection process phases are
Ashoka receives nominations from staff, volunteers, partners, Ashoka Fellows, and nominators, based on the five criteria for Ashoka Fellowship (see below). While Ashoka’s primary source for nominations is through our network of volunteer nominators, we also welcome self-nominations from social entrepreneurs who believe they meet Ashoka’s criteria.
The local Ashoka Venture team reviews the nominations to identify a key social innovation. In order to ensure that the candidate is a good fit for the Ashoka criteria, they conduct site visits and meet with the candidate, and then review their work with other experts in the field.
A senior Ashoka representative with extensive experience in the field of social entrepreneurship reviews the work of the candidate with the local Venture team. The second opinion interviewer will always come from a different continent than the candidate so they can bring objectivity to the process and assess the potential of the idea to be applied elsewhere. The second opinion interviewer will have an in-depth conversation about the innovation in the idea, its potential for sparking sector-wide system change, and the candidate’s fit for the Ashoka criteria.
In addition, three to four leading social and business entrepreneurs from the same country/region will interview the candidate. These entrepreneurs are able to assess the innovation and its potential impact in the local context. The panel then convenes as a group and, facilitated by the second opinion interviewer, decides by consensus whether they recommend that the Ashoka board elects this candidate as an Ashoka Fellow.
Ashoka’s Board of Directors reviews the candidate’s case in light of the observations made by the local Venture team, second opinion interviewer, and panelists. After assessing the candidate’s fit with the criteria and alignment with Ashoka’s mission, they make a final decision about whether to select the candidate to be an Ashoka Fellow
Ashoka Global Venture Team
Alessandro is a Senior Change leader with a track record of innovation within and beyond Ashoka. He is the founder of Ashoka in Italy as well as the Co-Founder of the Impact and Evidence team at Ashoka. He's also played key roles in the Europe diamond as a member of the Europe Forum as well as a leader of the European Transition Process. Outside of Ashoka, he's been an active player in the human rights field, with personal and political victories in his struggle for equality for LGBT people in Italy and beyond. He's a founder of several start-ups and member of a cooperative in Italy focused on educational board games. He's fluent in Spanish, Italian and English. After 8 years working for Ashoka in Europe, he has recently moved to the Global office in DC to join the Venture and E2 teams.
Kelsey joined Ashoka in 2017, with a passion for examining how economic development can be sustainable and locally relevant. As Global Venture Coordinator, she supports country offices with the Ashoka Fellowship selection process and builds a larger development strategy for the global program. Prior to Ashoka, Kelsey spent two years working in rural communities in Yunnan, China as a Teach For China Fellow. She continues to explore her passion for language, food, and community here in DC.
My passion for social entrepreneurship began during my Master's studies in Global Innovation Management at the University of Turku, Finland, my alma mater. Currently, I am pursuing a Ph.D. degree in International Business, and in my doctoral project, I investigate how international NGOs catalyze change in the society-business interface. Recently I have been contributing within the Nordic Team to consolidate Ashoka in the region.
Ovidiu has been part of Ashoka for 5 years, currently being a community builder for international programmes. Previously, he organized events for the Ashoka Community in Romania (both online and in person), championed candidates for the Ashoka Fellowship, coordinated an Ashoka Central and Eastern Europe program on energy poverty and other local capacity-building processes, supported the Ashoka Europe DEI efforts and organised LGBTQIA+ events Ashoka-wide. He has a background in Economics, graduating Faculty of Finance and Banking. However, driven by an authentic need for alternative learning he was part of the Economics Students Association in Romania, and studied and worked for The Alternative University and Restart in Education Community. Ovidiu is passionate about dancing, sports for social good and DEI.
Fernanda has joined the Global Venture and Fellowship team to manage the finances and support operations development
Before moving to DC, Fer lived in Colorado where she earned her Global Social & Sustainable Enterprise MBA that helped her better understand social entrepreneurship and realize how she could contribute to the world-wide movement. Originally from Mexico, Fer worked in the construction industry where she created a revolving credit line that helped build low income housing. In her spare time she is an active ocean conservationist focused on sharks. Fernanda holds a PADI Instructor license and constantly seeks new ways to get involved in preserving our natural ecosystem, locally as well as globally.
Fer enjoys hiking, camping, diving and spending time with her dog, Fibonacci.
Enrica joined Ashoka in 2014, during its launch phase in Italy. She supported the Venture Program at a local and European level and she recently joined the Global Venture Team. She has a degree in Political Science and International Studies and a Master's degree in Communication. Enrica has a strong background in the social field, as she has volunteered with disabled people since she was a teenager. Former board member for an NGO called International Civil Service, she implemented educational programs for children and young adults in former Yugoslavia in the post-war phase. She is a co-founder of a social cooperative with which she has developed educational projects based on empathy to address intercultural issues for students and teachers.
Nata a Colleferro, si laurea in Scienze Internazionali e Diplomatiche presso l’Università di Bologna e si appassiona ai numeri e alle procedure amministrative molto presto, ma quasi per caso. Si unisce al team di Ashoka nel 2019 come OPS e Finance Manager, dopo 15 anni zingari in altre Ong Italiane ed internazionali. Federica si occupa tanto di Ashoka Italia, che del management finanziario dei Programmi Europei Fellowship e Venture.