Ashoka in Switzerland
In a rapidly changing world, our societies are increasingly connected and facing common challenges. Social and environmental change is now necessary, more than ever before and it needs new mindsets and models to be effective.
Our vision is a world in which everyone is a changemaker: one in which all people are powerful and contribute to change in positive ways.
As part of Ashoka’s global network, in Switzerland we work to achieve our vision by supporting Social Entrepreneurs that leverage innovation to bring solutions to our raising problems. We elect these leaders as Ashoka Fellows and help them drive large-scale systemic change.
We strive to shift the global economy to be more socially responsible and respectful, for which we create meaningful collaborations with strategic actors. We also inspire young people to make change in their communities for the good of all. Ashoka mobilizes a global community to advance an “everyone a changemaker” world.
Ashoka pioneered the field of Social Entrepreneurship in the 1980s. We have since gained a wealth of insights by working with leading Social Entrepreneurs. Together we inspire others to be Changemakers. The Swiss office was founded in 2007. For more information, have a look at our brochure and our latest activity report. Discover our Fellows.
What we do
We identify, support and connect the world’s leading Social Entrepreneurs. They bring innovative and system-change solutions to today’s toughest social challenges
- Search and selection of social entrepreneurs (Venture
We developed an ongoing, extensive search and selection process to spot promising and innovative Social Entrepreneurs, to then elect the successful candidates as Ashoka Fellows.
- Support of social entrepreneurs (Fellowship)
Ashoka Fellows are granted various benefits, among which a three-year financial support and a lifetime membership into an expansive network of peers, pro-bono mentors and an ecosystem of partners.
Ashoka Fellows can access a co-learning and co-creation community along with ASN members and partners, through the European Fellowshipprogram.
- We often join forces with other actors to increase our impact.
For instance, in Latin America, we work with leading organisations to reduce poverty and contribute to greater economic inclusion of vulnerable groups through social entrepreneurship. Check out the report of phase 1.
- Social Investment Accelerator
Program that supports Social Entrepreneurs that are looking to raise investment for the first time. In 2019, we ran two accelerators in Africa: one on Climate Change and one on Agro-Business. Check out the Social Investment toolkit, developed by our Social finance director Mark Cheng with the support of UBS, a guide to navigate the world of social finance, supporting to unlock access to funding opportunities.
We support Fellows to tackle their most pressing organization issues by matching them with J.P. Morgan employees, therefore engaging these to discover the world of social entrepreneurship and the power of cross-sector collaboration.
UNLOCKING INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANISATIONS’ CHANGEMAKER POTENTIAL
We partner with a range of stakeholders (global foundations, universities, corporations, civil society organizations, media and other) to unlock their changemaking potential. Our partnerships are designed and co-created to be mutually beneficial. We collaborate with individuals as well as with companies, foundations, and like-minded organizations.
It is a global community of committed leaders who share, support, and advocate for Ashoka’s values and vision, while unleashing their own potential as changemakers.
Through experiential exposure of workforce to social entrepreneurship, we partner with companies to integrate impact and innovation into key aspects of their value chain.
For example, we collaborated with Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage company, to advance their efforts in reducing the impact on society and on the environment. We are now focusing on Biodiversity and Children Development (for instance, we relaunched the Creating Shared Value Prize).
We connect our network of Fellows, their powerful solutions and insights on social issues, with actors from the private sector such as companies, known for their capacity to operate at a large scale, and with public institutions to tackle social challenges more effectively.
CULTIVATING CHANGEMAKING ECOSYSTEMS
We engage in projects that are beneficial to a larger audience, that allow the general spectrum of committed actors to flourish.
Our European think-tank leverages the knowledge in our network on social issues and system-changing new ideas, and makes these insights actionable for collective solutions.
For instance, we have developing a collective around Democracy in Europe: a study was issued on the strategies adopted by 25 Fellows and we are reuniting key stakeholders to collaborate and trigger profound change around this topic.
We have partnered with C&A Foundation on a global initiative to support innovators for a fair and sustainable apparel industry. This initiative is unlocking the unique power and potential of social entrepreneurs and their solutions to advance our shared vision: transforming the apparel industry as a force for good
- We are working towards the replication of the Visionary Program in Switzerland.
INSPIRING YOUNG PEOPLE
We work with youth to prepare the next generation of changemakers. This requires cultivating empathy, creativity and collaboration. Those that nurture these skills will be better equipped to thrive and lead change.
- We have been working with HEG Fribourg since 2016 to bring social innovation and entrepreneurship culture to higher education. More info coming soon.
Thanks to the collaboration with Swiss Re Foundation, we have partnered since 2011 with school networks, agricultural organizations, and the government to install lifelong nutrition-seeking habits within school children aged between 9 and 14.
We have partnered with the Jacobs Foundation on TRECC initiative in Ivory Coast, to catalyse different interests around the common goal of sustainable development, through quality education.
Stefania has 10 years of experience in Marketing and Innovation in Africa & Europe.
She holds a diploma in Management of Public Administrations from Bocconi Business School and a master in Alternative Management from ESCP Europe and HEC Paris.
Stefania started her career by working on social business projects in Senegal and in Algeria for the social business investment fund created by Danone with Professor Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank. She then worked for 5 years for Danone Innovation Incubators, where she lead the launch of new brands and services.
Stefania is passionate about Social Innovation, she represented Danone in the MIT D-Lab PIA Summit in Ghana.
Don't hesitate to contact her, as she is fluent in all the languages spoken in Switzerland.
Emilie is responsible for building and managing international partnerships to support social entrepreneurs in scaling up their impact globally, and co-leads the Ashoka Support Network, a global community of committed leaders who stand by and advance Ashoka’s vision.
Between 2012 and 2018, she managed and grew the OECD Global Network of Foundations Working for Development (netFWD), and co-founded the OECD Centre on Philanthropy. She contributed to positioning foundations in the international development debate, played a bridging role between governments and philanthropic organisations, and turned netFWD into a thought leader in the philanthropic sector.
Prior to joining the OECD, Emilie served the Swiss Delegation to the OECD, where she advised the Ambassador on cross-sectoral OECD strategic policy and governance-related issues. She holds an MA in Public Management and Policies and a BA in Political Science
Ashling joined Ashoka in August 2019. She is the Finance and Operations manager for the offices of Belgium and Switzerland. Ashling has a Master in Finances from the ICHEC Brussels Management School.
Before Ashoka, Ashling used to work as a relationship manager in the finance sector for BNP Paribas Asset Management. In parallel of her professional life, Ashling has always been active in volunteer work and is currently a member of Natagora – an association active in nature preservation. Although born and raised in Brussels, Ashling is of French and Irish nationality.
My name is Andrea Antolin, I joined Ashoka in September 2019. I have an International MBA at IE Business School and a Master in Organizational Development. Before Ashoka, I used to work in Human Resources and Management Consulting for purpose-driven organizations in Chile. In parallel, I did pro-bono consulting for Special Olympics, a sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, for the last 3 years. In Ashoka I work with the Global Partnership Team and the Ashoka Switzerland team.
International Staff Located in Switzerland
Olivier is managing the global partnership between Ashoka and Nestlé, after having launched and led the Ashoka Switzerland office during 7 years.
He loves engaging public and private organizations into innovative alliances with social innovators to tackle main social challenges at scale. He holds a Master in Management from the French Business School EM Lyon (2001). After his studies, Olivier launched the “ecotour venture” in 1999 aimed at identifying innovative environmental best practices and engaging students on sustainable development. In 2004. Olivier also co-created the association "Sustainable Finance Geneva" in 2008 to promote sustainability and responsibility within the Swiss financial community.
Daniela es Directora Ejecutiva de Ashoka Argentina, Uruguay y Paraguay. Especialista en negocios de impacto y desarrollo local, es referente del Movimiento Internacional de Empresas Sociales desarrollado por el Premio Nóbel de la Paz Muhammad Yunus. Licenciada en Administración de Empresas y Magister en Desarrollo Local, trabajó en el Grameen Bank y Yunus Centre en Bangladesh, Alemania y Colombia. En Argentina fundó la empresa social SOWILA que trabaja en el empoderamiento de mujeres en situación de vulnerabilidad y trabajó como asesora en proyectos de desarrollo local e innovación social para el Estado.
Arnaud Mourot is Co-Director Ashoka Europe. A member of the French team of Olympic wrestling for 10 years and a graduate from ESCP Business school, Arnaud has been involved in the humanitarian sector since he finished his studies. He founded and led the NGO “Play International” (formerly Sport Sans Frontières) in 1999. He has also contributed to the development of various Social Businesses and CSOs in France. He launched the operations of Ashoka France/Belgium/Switzerland in 2005. He now leads the development of Ashoka in southern Europe and Francophony, as well as Ashoka’s “innovation for EACH businesses” initiative. He also serves as a global spokes person for Ashoka.Arnaud is married and the father of 3 children. He lives in Switzerland.