Looking at Europe from a different angle: As origin to impactful social innovations and their founders

When speaking about Europe today we often focus on the challenges in politics or administration. What Ashoka, a globally active non-profit organization and network of what they call changemakers, invites us to see is Europe as a fascinating home to many meaningful social innovations. Ideas and ways to go about pressing social issues with the potential to create positive changes in the lives of many.

In Berlin, Ashoka brings together 36 leading social entrepreneurs from 16 European countries during the first ever European Changemaker Summit. They are rethinking the way peace processes are designed, from the grassroots; redesigning playgrounds to ensure full inclusion of children with disabilities; reimagining the way unemployment is addressed through teamwork, networking and skills-building; or re-establishing the fight against wildfires through sustainable and ecological prevention, rather than extinction. These are just a few of the 36 solutions led by social entrepreneurs from Spain, Hungary, France, United Kingdom, Belgium and many others that will be presented during the summit on May 16. “We don´t only need to look over towards Silicon Valley for innovations. Europe has always been and today still is rich in just that, especially if we look at social innovation” says Rainer Höll, who leads the search and selection of social Entrepreneurs within Ashoka Europe.

For the first time since the foundation of Ashoka in 1981, the European Ashoka offices have created a common space to showcase leading social entrepreneurs’ solutions to pressing social issues and to dive into high-caliber discussions with key decision-makers from NGOs, foundations, companies, investors, and public institutions on how to advance systems change in their fields.

What is a social entrepreneur?

Ashoka pioneered the field of social entrepreneurship more than 35 years ago, and today it continues to build the largest global network of leading social entrepreneurs:  individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social, cultural, and environmental challenges. Social entrepreneurs directly impact the lives of millions of people across the globe, champion new ideas that transform society’s systems and also provide examples, ideas, and insights that can serve as a roadmap in the new “everyone a changemaker” world.

Ashoka searches the world for leading social entrepreneurs through an intensive, human-centered process, selecting them into a global fellowship of peers.

This process includes five phases: nomination (through a network of thousands of expert nominators across the world); first opinion (revision and evaluation of the candidate’s work and impact); second opinion; selection panel (a series of interviews by experts and business entrepreneurs); and final global board review.

The criteria are followed rigorously, focusing on five areas: the candidate’s new idea; creativity; social impact; entrepreneurial drive and ethical fiber.

Understanding systems change

Ashoka globally looks for solutions with a potential to achieve systemic change. We change a system when we have shifted the way a majority of relevant players solve a big social challenge, such that a critical mass of people affected by that problem will benefit. Across the Ashoka Fellowship, social entrepreneurs change systems in five different ways:  Redefining interconnections in market systems (market dynamics and value chains); changing the rules that govern our societies (public policy and industry norms); transforming the meaning of private vs. citizen sector (business social congruence); fully integrating marginalized populations (full citizenship and empathetic ethics); and increasing the number of people who are social problem solvers (culture of changemaking and social entrepreneurship).

About the European Changemaker Summit

The Changemaker Summit will gather 36 of these leading social entrepreneurs.

When: May 16th, 2018, 9:00 -22:00

Where: Umweltforum, Pufendorfstraße 11, 10249 Berlin, Germany

Partners: Google, Serviceplan, Deloitte, Accenture, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Correos and Haniel Stiftung

Event Website: https://ecms.ashoka.org/

 

About Ashoka

Ashoka is a global non-profit organization that identifies and supports the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, learns from the patterns in their innovations, and mobilizes a global community to embrace these new frameworks and build an “everyone a changemaker” world. It has repeatedly been ranked among the top 10 NGOs of the world by NGO Advisor (latest #5 in 2018).

www.ashoka.org

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