Frequently Asked Questions

What makes Ashoka different?

  • Our understanding of the history we are living and the revolution happening in the citizen sector. Ashoka is able to build programs designed to address the economic and social forces shaping our communities.
  • Our excellence in seeking out the world’s best social entrepreneurs. We pioneered the field of social entrepreneurship, with nearly three decades of experience in identifying and investing in the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, as well as building the network and partners to support them.
  • Our selection process. To elect our Fellows, we have refined a rigorous and extensive selection process which draws on our networks of local and international experts for nominations, interviews, analysis.
  • Our platform of collaborative entrepreneurship. We have systematized virtual collaborative entrepreneurship through our open sourcing platform, Changemakers.
  • Ultimately, our approach of a network effect. We are creating a network effect by linking 80 percent of the leading social entrepreneurs to many of their business entrepreneur peers, which then creates multiple dimensions of financial and community partnerships.

When did Ashoka start?
Ashoka was founded in 1980 by Bill Drayton. To see Ashoka's full timeline. Click here.

What is a social Entrepreneur?
Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems. They are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change. Learn more.

Who are Ashoka Fellows?
See all the US Ashoka Fellows. For Fellows in other countries, see the database of Fellows on the Ashoka Global website.

Where are Ashoka Fellows in the US? In other countries?
Ashoka Fellows are located throughout the US. See them all. For Fellows in other countries, you can search by country in the database of Fellows on the Ashoka Global website.

I’m a social entrepreneur.  Can I become Fellow?
To see if you are a good fit, first read our selection criteria then use this web form to nominate yourself.

What makes Ashoka Fellows unique?
Ashoka Fellows are visionaries who develop innovative solutions that fundamentally change how society operates. They find what is not working and address the problem by changing the system, spreading the solution, and persuading entire societies to take new leaps. Much like the rare, top business entrepreneurs who redefine industries, social entrepreneurs persist however long the transformation takes. They are creative yet pragmatic, constantly adjusting and changing, with a committed vision that endures until they have succeeded. Meet Ashoka US Fellows.

What does the Fellowship offer?
The Ashoka Fellowship is a dynamic global community of leading social entrepreneurs who deliver high-impact solutions to society’s most pressing problems. The rapidly growing Fellowship network allows Fellows to leverage their ideas, collaborate, and enhance their innovations, achieving far more together than individually. Ashoka accelerates Fellows’ progress as an individual, a leader of an organization, a participant in group collaborative initiatives, and a member of a global community of peers.

Where is Ashoka around the world?
Ashoka is in over 70 countries around the world. Learn more about our locations and visit our international websites.

Who does Ashoka work with?
Ashoka works with a wide range of organizations, corporations, individuals and foundations. Learn more about our strategic partnerships.
I'm very entrepreneurial, can I work with you?
If you have been starting and leading endeavors your whole life, then Ashoka is the place for you! Find out more here.

Do you work with Universities?
Absolutely, in fact, we have a program devoted just to fostering, incubating, and accelerating new and effective approaches to high quality social entrepreneurship teaching, research, and action in higher education. Learn more.

I thought you just supported social entrepreneurs, what's with all these other programs?
Our goal is not to just elect social entrepreneurs, but to create a world where everyone has the confidence and abillity to change their community - a world where everyone is a changemaker.

When we started almost 30 years ago we didn’t want to capture a market – we wanted to generate a network effect to tip the world. Ashoka pioneered the field of social entrepreneurship and we generated opportunities for social entrepreneurs around the world to connect, collaborate, and provide value to one another, multiplying the capacity of each social entrepreneur to improve more lives and to change the world. Now we are witnessing one of the most critical transformations of our time - the transition from a world of elites into one where everyone is a contributing changemaker. As the pace of change accelerates, this is the only way solutions can outrun problems.  Join us in creating an everyone a changemaker world.

I like Ashoka, how can I stay updated on news and events?
Sign up for our newsletter by entering your email in the top right hand corner and you'll receive a monthly newsletter from Ashoka

I love Ashoka, how do I help support your work?
Ashoka would not exist without the support of people like you. Each donation to Ashoka is an investment in social change.Your contribution will help us to identify exceptional social entrepreneurs around the world, support them in their work, and expand our programs to truly create an Everyone A Changemaker world. Get started now.

Can someone from Ashoka speak at our upcoming event?
Please email with a brief description of the event, the audience you expect, the location and date of the event and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Does Ashoka provide grants or academic fellowships?
No. Ashoka is a 501(c)3 organization, not a foundation or grant-making organization. Ashoka does not fund research, special projects, staff positions, or scholarships. There is some financial support which is available only to Fellows.

Does Ashoka-US provide training and technical assistance on social entrepreneurship or founding social entrepreneur organizations?
Ashoka-US promotes the exchange of best practices among Fellows and supports a platform which allows Fellows to access the resources they need to accelerate their impact.

Is Ashoka an incubator for emerging social entrepreneurs?
No. However, we work closely with organizations that invest in social entrepreneurs at the initial “idea” stage. Ashoka looks for social entrepreneurs who have tested their ideas and are poised to move to a new level of social impact. Learn more about our criteria.