Why Leading Social Entrepreneurs are Critical Today

In a world defined by change, success comes from everyone leading. Social entrepreneurs define the new roadmaps that allow people to thrive in this new environment, while providing solutions and demonstrating the how-tos.

Ashoka engages the world’s largest and most powerful network of social entrepreneurs by searching for and selecting the world’s leading social entrepreneurs: Ashoka Fellows. 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.

Ashoka Fellows champion new ideas that transform society’s systems -- providing benefits for everyone and improving the lives of millions of people. Ashoka Fellows are the ultimate role models in today’s world.

After a rigorous selection process, they are introduced to a life-long fellowship, where every member is committed to championing new patterns of social good.

Ashoka Arab World nominates at least six of these social entrepreneurs every year to be a part of the global Ashoka Fellowship network. As Fellows, social entrepreneurs receive stipends, professional support services, and access to a global network in order to elevate their impact and accelerate change. Since its founding in 2003, Ashoka Arab World has elected more than 100 Fellows based in 11 countries across the Middle East and North Africa region and creating systemic change across a diversity of social sectors.

Ashoka identifies patterns that are emerging from our Fellows—types of solutions, strategies, topic areas, etc.—that often point to areas ripe for major change. These learnings from across our Fellowship guide Ashoka’s work and investments in strategic initiatives that empower every person to be a changemaker. We encourage Ashoka Fellows to take ownership of the network and we partner with them to co-create Ashoka’s vision of an Everyone a Changemaker world.


When Ashoka elected me a Fellow in November 2006, I had been working part-time to implement my vision for five years. Ashoka gave me a stipend that allowed me to reduce the burden of my own student loans, cover my basic expenses, and fully dedicate myself to scaling Lumni.

Felipe Vergara
Lumni, Colombia and US. Ashoka Fellow since 2006

Ashoka is unlike any other organization I’ve worked with. And this is a good thing. Forget about hierarchies and decision-trees. Forget about caveats and we’ve-never-done-that’s. I have never worked with a more committed group of people whose first response is ‘why not!,’ whose job descriptions say...

Eric Dawson
Founder of Peace First. Ashoka Fellow since 2007​