Frequently Asked Questions
Social entrepreneurship is the act of producing and implementing innovative approaches that tackle social problems unsolved by previous (and ongoing) development models. It is one of the most successful means of addressing complex social challenges, through its provision of comprehensive solutions specifically tailored to local needs. Social entrepreneurship is different from other models as it is based primarily on the premise that change comes from the individual. This individual (the social entrepreneur) is not willing to accept the status quo. S/he sees an opportunity for change in the most difficult of situations, and with innovative ideas, tackles the social problems s/he has identified. These innovations are more advanced than the common grassroots charity approach, as they do not only strive to “fix holes in a leaking vessel”, but to build a new, hi-tech fleet. Ultimately, social entrepreneurs strive to change the world by implementing innovative ideas, and are ready to replicate their models, in order to help elevate entire societies across the globe.
After 30 years of work on a global scale, proof of the importance of social entrepreneurship is clearly demonstrated through Ashoka and its Fellows around the world. Coining the term in 1980, Bill Drayton, head of Ashoka, has since led the organization in its election of over 3000 Fellows, working in a wide variety of fields, in more than 70 countries around the world. In the Arab World in particular, we have elected 85 Fellows since 2003, and this figure continues to rise.
Ultimately, at Ashoka we believe that social entrepreneurship exceeds other forms of development in that it is based on grassroots innovation, and that only grassroots innovation can lead to real and sustainable change.
Ashoka is dedicated to social entrepreneurship as the model for creating significant social impact in the Arab World. We are particularly committed to tackling pressing social problems in the areas of: job creation, education, health, youth homelessness, housing, women’s empowerment, and information and communication technology.
Ashoka partners contribute to solving the various social challenges within these fields through a defined and highly-valued partnership. Indeed, becoming an Ashoka partner allows individuals and their businesses to stimulate sustainable and significant systemic change, with direct and measurable results, in a clearly identified timeframe.
Over the years Ashoka Arab World has positively impacted the lives of more than 10 million people throughout the Arab World both through its Fellowship program, and its independent programs. As an Ashoka partner, you too can be a part of this measurable impact.
Ashoka Fellows are the most prominent social innovators in their societies, a reputation that they have gained through dedicated work and demonstrated impact. In the vast majority of cases, their innovative ideas and commitment are initially discovered by Ashoka, and then nurtured through the various support services on offer. The identified individuals have innovative changemaking ideas, but need tailored support to scale-up. At Ashoka we invest our resources into identifying the most determined changemakers in the Arab World, and thus operate as the enablers of sustainable development. Our 30 years of global experience, and subsequent ability to identify those individuals demonstrating a clear ability to scale and make a desired and long-lasting impact, has guaranteed that only the most promising social entrepreneurs are elected and provided with the support of Ashoka and its partners.
In order to contribute significantly and effectively to the development of our elected Fellows, Ashoka provides them with: a 3-year stipend (allowing the Fellow to wholly focus on the implementation of her/his idea); consultation; technical assistance; capacity building activities; media and marketing support; monitoring and evaluation tools; nomination for prestigious awards; opportunities for enhanced networking and collaborations; access to a strong network of social entrepreneurs; and opportunities to showcase the power of their work.
These services continue to be provided as a result of the ongoing support of Ashoka’s strategic partners. Indeed, Ashoka could not continue identifying and selecting the most determined changemakers in the Arab World, let alone offer them individualized and tailored guidance without the support of our highly-committed partners. It is for these reasons, that the support of our partners is truly invaluable.
Neither. You are investing to create an impact in real sustainable change.
As Ashoka Arab World is a non-profit organization, no financial profit is generated through our activities. However, we do not simply disburse valuable resources at any charitable opportunity, but rather are committed to operating with rigorous financial efficiency in order to ensure maximal social impact. Ashoka Arab World has a well-defined strategy including detailed projected results that we are constantly striving towards. As an Ashoka partner, you can be confident in the knowledge that your investment is not being misspent, but rather is channeled into tried-and-tested programs, achieving maximum social impact, and thereby stimulating important social change.