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Schwab Foundation celebrates a decade of social entrepreneurship in Davos

Davos, Switzerland, 25 January 2010 – The 40th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting also marks the 10th anniversary of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. For a decade, the Schwab Foundation has brought visionary social entrepreneurs together with global business and government leaders at the World Economic Forum. This year, 31 leading social entrepreneurs will share their compelling ideas for sustainable solutions for the benefit of society and the environment in 160 sessions under the Annual Meeting theme of Improve the State of the World: Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild.

“Over the last decade, we have seen how the role of social entrepreneurs has become increasingly more relevant and important. Their projects are helping to build a more equitable and sustainable world," said Hilde Schwab, Chairperson, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.  “We are proud to have provided a unique community, network and platform to accelerate and support proven solutions to improve society,” added Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum and Co-Founder, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

During the Annual Meeting, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship will host a 10 Year Anniversary Reception celebrating a decade of social entrepreneurship, with more than 200 participants, including its community of social entrepreneurs, its partners and leading business figures.

On this occasion, Thilo Bode will be recognized as the winner of the Social Entrepreneur of the Year competition in Germany, a prestigious award given in partnership with the Boston Consulting Group and the Financial Times Deutschland. Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Laureate and Managing Director, Grameen Bank, Bangladesh, will give the award in his capacity as Foundation Board Member of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.
Click here for the profile of the German Social Entrepreneur of the Year

As the world rethinks the aftermath of the economic crisis, several social entrepreneurs taking part in the Annual Meeting have made pertinent contributions towards key challenges as they typically emphasize long-term sustainability and equitable growth instead of short-term gains. Schwab Social Entrepreneur, Vikram Akula, Founder and Chairperson of SKS Microfinance, India, will share his insights with William H. Gates III, Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USA; Jeffrey D. Sachs, Assistant Director-General, United Nations Millennium Project, USA; and Morgan Tsvangirai, Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, in a plenary session reviewing the Millennium Development Goals on Friday 29 January.
Click here for profiles of the Social Entrepreneurs at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

Paulo Coelho, Author and Board Member of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, considers the Schwab social entrepreneurs to be true alchemists of our time, crafting real solutions to seemingly intractable problems. Commenting on the role of social entrepreneurs in the rebuilding of our global systems, he said: “For extraordinary results, we need to take extraordinary steps.”

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, an affiliate organization of the World Economic Forum, began its activities in 2000, promoting and raising awareness of social entrepreneurship as a key solution to societal challenges. By identifying and recognizing leading social entrepreneurs globally, it has established the world’s foremost community of over 17 pragmatic visionaries who are actively rethinking, redesigning and rebuilding a more equitable, sustainable and values-oriented world, in such diverse areas as education, healthcare, alternative energy, access to finance and unemployment.

The following sessions on the official programme of the Social Entrepreneurs can be open to media on request.
If you would like access to any of these sessions, please contact Francois Bonnici or Richard Elliott by Tuesday 26 January.

Schwab Foundation 10 Year Anniversary Reception and German Social Entrepreneur Award
Thursday 28 January, 19.00 - 20.00 Congress Centre, Parsenn/Pischa Room
This is a reception for Social Entrepreneurs, partners and invited guests to celebrate the 10 Year Anniversary of the Schwab Foundation. The German Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2009 will also be recognized on this occasion.

Business Solutions to Rural Poverty
Wednesday 27 January, 14.00 - 16.30, Congress Centre, Fluela WorkSpace
Seventy-five per cent of extreme poverty in the world occurs in rural areas. CEOs, global leaders and Social Entrepreneurs will discuss how to bring prosperity to rural areas through innovation in finance, agriculture, technology and policy.

Social Entrepreneurs IdeasLab
Thursday 28 January, 09.00 - 10.15, Congress Centre, Jackobshorn IdeasLab
Social Entrepreneurs in the IdeasLab share creative solutions designed to address society's most pressing needs with business leaders.


The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship. It engages with business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is independent, impartial and not tied to any interests. It cooperates closely with all leading international organizations (www.weforum.org).