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Foundation Ashoka

Ashoka is a network of social entrepreneurs worldwide that supports social entrepreneurs
Foundation Ashoka
Headquarters
Washington DC Metro Area, East Coast, Southern US
Type
Non-profit
Year stablished
1980
Social Media
Summary

Ashoka is a network of social entrepreneurs worldwide that supports social entrepreneurs, promotes group entrepreneurship, and builds infrastructure for the citizen sector. It has nearly 3,000 Ashoka Fellows putting their system-changing ideas into practice on a global scale.

Ashoka has provided start-up financing, professional support services, connections to a global network across the business and social sectors, and a platform for people dedicated to changing the world. It launched the field of social entrepreneurship and has activated multi-sector partners across the world.


History

The organisation Ashoka was set up in 1980 by Bill Drayton, that aimed to contribute for a better and more purposeful world.

Social entrepreneurship is furthered by Ashoka, and this groundbreaking organisation claims that it has almost 3,000 Ashoka Fellows, spread across 70 different countries in the world.

The organization’s name is the same of Ashoka, also known as Ashoka the Great, who was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from circa 269 BCE to 232 BCE.  Ashoka became renowned for having transformed himself from a wicked, bloodthirsty emperor into a magnanimous peaceful one, due to his conversion to Buddhism. He ruled for forty years, bringing prosperity peace to his empire.


Goals and Purpose

Ashoka offers start-up financing, professional support services and connections to its worldwide business and social network. It also provides a platform for those that aim to transform the world by using social entrepreneurship. The organisation is continually on the lookout for people and ideas that seek to address social problems.

At the community’s heart are the Ashoka Fellows who provide insight support to help people to be “changemakers”, as Ashoka describes it. As a result, the organisation focuses on providing people with the skills and connections needed to develop their ideas at the scale necessary to be able to fix problems in their family, community, city, workplace, field, industry or country. The overarching value behind this is that the goal of ideas should be to contribute to change for the good of all.

Ashoka actually works in partnership with private, philanthropic and citizen sector players and through the different partnerships they are achieving large-scale social innovation that is grounded in decades of entrepreneurial experience.


Impact

Social Impact


Ashoka’s approach to developing new ideas for social change is threefold and focuses on the individual, the group and the sector. With regard to the individual, the organisation supports social entrepreneurs, by identifying these people and then investing in them to help them to reap as much social impact as possible.

In terms of groups, the organisation promotes group entrepreneurship by getting communities of entrepreneurs engaged with what it is doing and encouraging collaboration between people.

For the sector, Ashoka works to build the infrastructure needed to support what it calls a “global network of changemakers”. It does this by offering access to financing for social developments and links to business and academia. It also provides frameworks that can help with the development of partnerships that can deliver social change.

Education


Ashoka has also contributed to developing social innovation in higher education, and it has achieved this through its branch named Ashoka U. Through this particular initiative, it aims to collaborate with educational institutions to try to foster social innovation in campuses worldwide.

Goals in this regard include “Catalysing innovation in higher education” and “Creating a thriving global network of changemaker campuses”, among others. A particularly useful resource is its library of videos concerning social change.

Change generated through Ashoka U is targeted both on campuses and beyond. In this way, Ashoka U targets bright young minds to get on board with social entrepreneurship at an early age, leveraging their ideas to address challenging social problems.


References
Foundation Ashoka
Headquarters
Washington DC Metro Area, East Coast, Southern US
Type
Non-profit
Year stablished
1980
Social Media