About Ashoka Switzerland

About Ashoka Switzerland

Swiss key figures&map

Ashoka was founded in 1981 by Bill Drayton and is now the largest network of social entrepreneurs. Ashoka was founded in Switzerland in 2007.

Our longest-running program is the Venture process, which selects among the region’s most innovative and system-changing problem solvers to join our Swiss community of 22 social entrepeneurs ("Ashoka Fellows"). 

Click here to view all of Switzerland's Fellows elected in Switzerland.

42 other changemakers who have not been through the Ashoka Venture selection process have also been supported by the Ashoka Switzerland team through various programs: In 2012, we launched the Impact program, a social impact booster aiming at building Swiss social enterprise leaders’ capacity, and in 2015, we replaced it by the Swiss Changemakers program targeted at more advanced social entrepreneurs willing to spread a more entrepreneurial movement in the social sector in Switzerland. Currently, a dozen of other social entrepreneurs are being selected to join the UBS Social Innovators program.

In parallel, we have long been promoting Co-creation & Changemaker alliances where social entrepreneurs, businesses, and governments can complement each other’s skills and expertise, take on challenges that no one could solve alone, and simultaneously have access to new strategic win-win opportunities. 

At our side in these programs is our Ashoka Support Network, composed of 12 Swiss business entrepreneurs. 

For more detailed information about Ashoka Switzerland, have a look at our latest brochure.

Connect with Ashoka Switzerland

Address:
Rue du Conseil Genéral 20
1205 Geneva
Switzerland

Our Programs

Ashoka searches the world for leading social entrepreneurs who are tackling the toughest challenges facing society today in areas that include health and wellbeing, education, environment, and employment. In Switzerland, we nominate one or two of these social entrepreneurs every year to be a part of our fellowship.

These social entrepreneurs supported by Ashoka, the “Ashoka Fellows,” are great role models who put into perspective the underlying trends of a world which is increasingly defined by change rather than repetition, and thus offers us an opportunity to prepare ourselves for tomorrow’s challenges. That is why our strategy is now based in part on supporting the most innovative entrepreneurs, and on the other hand identificating and accelerating trends that are ushering in some new paradigms. This is what led us to launch two initiatives (our Skills & Education and Alliances & Co-Creation programs) and it will lead us to develop other thematic initiatives (in areas like health, nutrition, migration, etc.) whenever a critical mass of social entrepreneurs enable us to understand the upheaval that is coming to a sector.

AshokaStrategyTree

Click here to find out more about Ashoka’s Venture program in Switzerland and around the world, including the criteria for selecting Ashoka Fellows, and the support they receive from Ashoka.

Changemaker Alliances

Ashoka Switzerland supports the creation of innovative alliances between social entrepreneurs, businesses and governments to complement each others' skills and expertise in order to take on challenges that no one could solve alone, while simultaneously having access to new strategic win-win opportunities. Over the past years, Ashoka Switzerland has been supporting many co-creation initiatives including the following:

European Social and Business Co-Creation, Collaboration for Impact

In 2014, Ashoka and its partners the Zermatt Summit Foundation, Fondation Guilé, DPD, and Boehringher Ingelheim launched an unprecedented online collaborative competition: Social & Business Co-Creation. It invited collaborations for impact to source, highlight, and catalyze innovative Co-Creation projects in Europe led by social-mission organizations, traditional businesses, and public institutions.

Click here for more information about this competition!

Case series on social & business co-creation  

In order to share these leading initiatives and inspire more organizations to explore the frontiers between the business and social sectors, Ashoka Switzerland has partnered with PwC and three Swiss universities (HEC Lausanne, HEG Fribourg, and the University of St-Gallen) to produce academic cases and pedagogical tools. Five co-creation proposals were selected among the finalists to develop five teaching cases and five business cases. These cases are successful co-creation examples, which reflect the progress of this powerful practice and demonstrate the great potential of co-creation to invent tomorrow’s society.

Discover the 5 business cases here!

To learn more about co-creation, click here [English] or here [French].

UBS Social Innovators Program

The UBS Social Innovators Program aims at selecting and supporting social entrepreneurs, who deliver innovative solutions to society's most pressing challenges at the national and international level. This tailored package of support will include access to UBS’s unique network and know-how, global exposure and expert coaching. UBS Social Innovators is being launched with support from Ashoka.

Learn more about this program here!

The Ashoka Support Network is a global community of successful, innovative leaders from a variety of fields, who connect with the world's leading social entrepreneurs to accelerate positive social change. They support Ashoka financially as well as strategically, offering their time, network and expertise.

Find out more about the ASN here!

Swiss Changemakers Program

In 2015, Ashoka Switzerland launched the Swiss Changemakers program in partnership with the Trafigura Foundation and UBS to select and gather leading Swiss innovators with a proven track record of driving exciting social ventures in Switzerland and a willingness to spread a more entrepreneurial movement in Switzerland's social sector

The program gathered the 10 selected Changemakers, including four Ashoka Fellows, and took them through four workshops in four cities, sharing experiences with four framework-change topics (social entrepreneurship, every child practicing empathy, youth practicing changemaking, and innovation in teams), being challenged by peers and experts, rethinking their models, and investigating collaborations.

“The whole program was great. I learned a lot! The storytelling workshop was especially interesting and has helped me a lot in my project because I am planning to write a book in storytelling style. Following the workshop, I really adapted the way I tell the story of the Office of Ideas, using the methodology presented.”  - Christiane Daepp, Ashoka Fellow

Learn more about this program here!

Previously to the Swiss Changemakers Program, Ashoka Switzerland conducted from 2012 to 2014 the IMPACT program on a yearly basis, which was aiming at identifying socially innovative organizations with strong changemaking potential in a specific field or region, to professionalize them help them to grow and spread their impact.

Learn more about this program here!

Experiencing Social Entrepreneurship

"Experiencing Social Entrepreneurship," is a partnership for change that matches J. P. Morgan mentors with Ashoka Social Entrepreneurs.

Ashoka Switzerland and J.P. Morgan launched a new mentoring program in January 2016 that brings J.P. Morgan employees and social entrepreneurs together for face-to-face meetings. Teams of J.P. Morgan employees target a specific challenge within a social entrepreneur’s enterprise by sharing their skills and insights during a four-to-six-month engagement. The objective is to build a purpose-driven enterprise’s capacity to deliver on its social goals, while spurring the personal and professional development of bank employees that volunteer for this program.

Learn more about this program here!

We are building a community of education institutions that prioritize the cultivation of empathy, teamwork, leadership, and changemaking in their students. Ashoka is therefore applying its tried and tested methodology of searching for and selecting the world’s leading social entrepreneurs to identify, select, and connect a global network of hundreds of schools. Today, we are at the very initial stage of launching our Education Program in Switzerland.

“The world’s becoming more complicated . . . the capacity for new thinking and for turning old ideas into new applications has really never been more important . . . our kids ought to recognize how deep their capacities for creativity are.” - Sir Ken Robinson at an Ashoka event in June 2015

To find out more about our Ashoka Fellows that are involved with education, click here.

Staff

Olivier is responsible for the development of Ashoka in Switzerland. ...more
Caroline is interested in inclusive finance, impact evaluation and innovative ...more
Carole is a Program Manager at Ashoka as part of ...more
Fabienne joined Ashoka to develop the organization’s impact in the ...more