Venture and Fellowship

For thirty years, Ashoka has been at the forefront of identifying and supporting the leading social entrepreneurs who are changing patterns and transforming systems. Venture is the mechanism through which Ashoka finds and supports the world’s leading social entrepreneurs. It is the flagship model upon which Ashoka was founded and remains the heart of Ashoka.

We believe that the growth of a global citizen sector begins with the work of individual social entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs drive the sector forward, responding to new challenges and changing needs. They are rooted in local communities but think and act globally. They are the ultimate role models and the pillars of Ashoka’s vision of Everyone a Changemaker.

Why Venture and Fellowship

The scale and complexities surrounding social issues like poverty, abuse, corruption and environmental degradation are such that to change the trajectory in a significant way, the world needs continuing innovation and the empowerment of more and better problem solvers.

Ashoka Fellows serve as powerful examples of the changemaking power inherent in every citizen of the world, so that together, the power of everyone creates the world we wish to see. They empower themselves to see a world weighed down by overwhelming problems through the lens of creative new solutions. Ashoka Fellows take on the challenges of finding new ways to make and spread social impact in a world too often consumed by apathy and despair. They refuse to let the ‘impossible’ stand in their way to creating a better world.

Ashoka’s Venture program identifies these individuals and elects them into a global Fellowship.

The process is long but also fruitful. In fact, many candidates describe the selection procedure as one of the most difficult but enlightening experiences of their careers. Candidates must communicate their ideas, scrutinize their methods, and reflect on themselves as individuals. Even those who do not pass believe they are better equipped to return to their projects afterwards. Venture is not simply a means to an end, but rather our selection process generates robust discussion, sharpens ideas, and focuses tremendous energy into the citizen sector and the growing field of social entrepreneurship.

After a rigorous selection process based on our five key criteria, selected Ashoka fellows at the launch stage receive a living stipend for an average of three years (based on need), allowing them to focus full-time on building their institutions and spreading their ideas. Fellows have said that the Ashoka Fellowship gives them an identity, a community, and the network to do more. Our Fellows become part of a global support network of peers and strategic partnerships. Once elected to the Ashoka Fellowship, Fellows benefit from this community for life.

What is a social entrepreneur? >>

Ashoka's Selection Criteria >>

The Five-Stage Selection Processs >>

Nominating a Candidate >>

Support the Venture Program >>