This collection of stories is about social entrepreneurs that Ashoka Switzerland supports. This term describes an individual who conceives of, and relentlessly pursues, a new idea designed to solve societal problems on a very wide scale by changing the systems that undergird the problems. This definition includes two critical components.  

  • First, the entrepreneur must seek to create impact on a wide societal scale; he or she will not rest until the new idea has been broadly adopted at the national and even international level.
  • Second, the entrepreneur must seek systemic change, defined as the fundamental reform of existing societal systems and/or the creation of new ones. -Levinger, Crutchfield and Wells.

We are proud to present all these amazing changemakers to you! Just scroll down the page to find all their stories. And you can visit our general webpage on social entrepreneurship for more information.

Related TopicsBusiness & Social Enterprise, Social enterprise, Every child practicing empathy


The 7 key questions you should ask yourself as a social entrepreneur!

You have decided to commit yourself to putting your talent and energy into a social entrepreneurial project; you are heading up your project, your activity is working but you are asking yourself: How can I develop without losing sight of my social mission?

Get to know our Fellows in Switzerland!

In Switzerland, Ashoka nominates one or two social entrepreneurs every year to be part of our fellowship programme. Ashoka fellows are visionaries who develop innovative solutions that fundamentally change how society operates.

Meet Nicola Forster -- Ashoka Fellow in Switzerland

Ashoka Switzerland has elected Nicola Forster, founder and president of foraus as a new Fellow. After a long and rigorous selection process, Ashoka saw in Nicola all the qualities of an entrepreneur and innovator.

Discover Conor Bohan, transforming the university system in Haiti

Meet Conor Bohan, founder of HELP (Haitian Education & Leadership Program), Ashoka Fellow elected in Haiti in 2014, and part of the cohort of the SDC-Hystra program to support social entrepreneurship in Latin America. 

Sasha Kramer : a social business model for eco-friendly sanitation and farm practices in Haïti

Sasha Kramer – 2006 Ashoka Fellow and founder of  SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) – is working to promote dignity, health, and sustainable livelihoods through the use of ecological sanitation in Haïti.

Alejandro Marius: a social enterprise to transform the work culture concept in Venezuela

Alejandro Marius – founder of Trabajo y Persona – is transforming the concept of the workplace as a painful necessity into a place of enjoyment and fulfillment in Venezuela.

Emily Stone: a social business model for indigenous Maya farmers in Belize and Guatemala

Emily Stone –founder of Maya Mountain Cacao (MMC) – is connecting the small indigenous Maya farmers in Belize and Guatemala with the ultra-premium chocolate industry.

Sebastian Salinas: a social business to foster entrepreneurship in disadvantaged communities of Chile

Sebastian Salinas – founder of Balloon – is fostering and developing entrepreneurship in the remote and disadvantaged Chilean communities through the transfer of knowledge, methodologies and tools vehiculated by volunteers.

Peter Bloom: a social business to provide better telecommunication services in Mexico

Peter Bloom – founder of Rhizomatica - is setting up mobile phone networks in rural areas of Mexico, to provide communities with cheaper and better quality telecommunication services than mainstream operators.

Juan Pablo Larenas: a social enterprise to promote public and private cooperation in Chile

Juan Pablo Larenas – founder of Sistema B - is taking the American B Corporation label to Latin America, in order to promote collaboration between businesses, government and civil society towards social innovation in Chile.

Carlos Atencio: a social enterprise to strengthen the healthcare system in Venezuela

Carlos Atencio – founder of Fundación Medicina Familiar – is responding to the failing healthcare system in Venezuela by introducing a new model of care, based on family practice medicine, and centered on community responsibility and participation.

Ashoka Swiss Fellows & Changemakers in #ImpactJournalism 2016

Three of Ashoka Switzerland's social entrepreneurs (2 Fellows and 1 Changemakers) were featured on the #ImpactJournalism website on June 2015. 

Ashoka Switzerland has been supporting Changemakers through its IMPACT program from 2012 to 2014!

Ashoka Switzerland has been supporting Changemakers through its IMPACT program from 2012 to 2014!

Santé : cette chercheuse traque les médicaments dormants contre les maladies rares et les réactive

Qu'une maladie affecte 2000 ou 20 millions de personnes, les droits au traitement médical devraient être les mêmes. C'est le but de la Fondation EspeRare, une association basée à Genève et créée en 2013 par Caroline Kant, qui réveille les médicaments « dormants » sur les étagères des laboratoires, pour les repositionner sur les traitements des maladies rares !

Caroline Kant: caring for children suffering from life-threatening diseases

While working at Merck Serono in the research and development (R&D) knowledge management department, Caroline Kant discovered many drugs sitting on the company’s shelves, waiting to be researched on, and which could become part of a much needed solution to treat rare diseases.

UBS launched International search for trailblazing social innovators

The UBS Social Innovators Program was launched with support from Ashoka in July 2016. It aims at selecting and supporting social entrepreneurs, who deliver innovative solutions to society's most pressing challenges at the national and international level.

Caroline Kant: traque les médicaments dormants contre les maladies rares, et les réactive

Alors qu'elle travaille au département recherche et développement de Merck Serono, un laboratoire phamarceutique, Caroline Kant découvre l’existence de nombreux traitements, en repos sur les étagères du laboratoire. "Dormantes",

Discover our localized fellows

In addition to Fellows elected in the country, Ashoka in Switzerland is also supporting international Fellows iwth a local presence in Switzerland whether it be replicating their venture, having an office or setting up a foundation. 


Mary Gordon fellow CH



MARY GORDON, ROOTS OF EMPATHY, elected in Canada in 2002

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