Social Innovation

2024 Social Innovation Awards: 16 organizations improving the lives of millions

The Schwab Awards celebrate social innovation spanning grassroots organizations, major corporations, public sector institutions and collective initiatives.

The Schwab Awards celebrate social innovation spanning grassroots organizations, major corporations, public sector institutions and collective initiatives. Image: Fundación Mi Sangre.

Hilde Schwab
Chairperson and Co-Founder, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, World Economic Forum Geneva
Francois Bonnici
Director, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship; Head of Foundations, World Economic Forum
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Social Innovation

This article is part of: World Economic Forum Annual Meeting
  • The 2024 Schwab Foundation Social Innovation Awards recognize 16 organizations, joining a global community of 477 change-makers directly improving the lives of 891 million people.
  • Social innovators are key to rebuilding trust in society. They are values-driven, inclusive leaders who harness the best in humanity to develop new models to better achieve social and environmental outcomes.
  • The Schwab Awards celebrate social innovation spanning grassroots organizations, major corporations, public sector institutions and collective initiatives.

Violent conflict, rising geopolitical tensions, economic uncertainty and mounting climate fears have triggered a dangerous breakdown in trust. In today’s polarised world it is easy to lose sight of our shared humanity – yet the need for better ways to make societies more inclusive, equitable and sustainable has never been more urgent.

This year, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship has awarded 16 organizations for their social innovation. These organizations offer hope at a time when faith in leadership is in decline worldwide. They show how innovative approaches to deep-seated problems can deliver transformation in areas such as healthcare and education, finance and law, the empowerment of women and young people, poverty alleviation, and countering the effects of climate change.

Discover

What is the World Economic Forum doing to champion social innovation?

For a quarter of a century, the Schwab Foundation has provided a global platform to accelerate outstanding models of social innovation, and the 2024 awardees join an existing community of 477 champions whose collective work have improved the lives of 891 million people since 1998.

Social innovation unlocks economic value

Over the last three years alone, the 64 organizations conferred with Schwab Awards have created $902 million of economic value for their communities.

The benefits are being felt from rural villages in Africa to megacities in Asia and Latin America to under-privileged parts of North America and Europe. Globally, social innovators are today implementing their high-impact models in over 190 countries, guided by the principle of putting purpose before profit.

Working hand-in-hand with the communities they serve, they show how trust can be rebuilt by instilling agency among individuals or groups in a way that helps them develop their own solutions to chronic problems. In a world in which less than one-third of people questioned say they would help, live near or work with someone who strongly disagrees with their viewpoint, this bottom-up rather than top-down strategy is breaking down distrust and shifting entrenched power dynamics.

Social Innovation Award categories

The award winners for this year are honoured across four categories:

  • Social Entrepreneurs: Employ innovative, market-based approaches to directly address social issues.
  • Public Social Innovators: Leaders in the public sector in government or in international organizations who harness the power of social innovation to create public good through policy, regulation, or public initiatives.
  • Corporate Social Innovators: Leaders within multinational or regional companies who drive the development of new products, services, initiatives, or business models that address societal and environmental challenges.
  • Collective Social Innovators: Bring together organizations to solve complex problems that cannot be tackled by individual actors.

With just seven years left to meet the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, there is a pressing need for the kind of deep change they provide.

The good news is the world is now paying attention. In April 2023, the United Nations adopted the first resolution recognizing the contribution of the social and solidarity economy towards sustainable development, and called on governments to implement policies supporting social enterprise.

At the same time, there has been an important shift in the way many of these organizations operate as they move from simply supplying goods and services to providing the tools and systems to empower communities.

The impact of this is being felt at both the macro and micro level, as reflected in this year’s winners. The Financing Alliance for Health, for example, helps governments across Africa set their own healthcare agendas, thereby reducing dependency on external development agencies. Colombia’s Fundación Mi Sangre, meanwhile, works at the individual level to give young people the skills needed to develop their voice and help steer their country’s future.

Other organizations are pioneering projects as diverse as recycling electronic devices for education in the Middle East; empowering Indigenous peoples’ stewardship of Amazon forests; promoting youth development through sport; and bringing legal services to resource-poor communities in rural Africa.

Outstanding Social Innovators of the Year 2024

Social Entrepreneurs

Ajaita Shah, Founder and CEO of Frontier Markets (India); Mohamed Amine Zariat, Founder of Tibu Africa (Morocco); Catalina Cock Duque, Co-Founder of Fundación Mi Sangre (Colombia); Gerald Abila, Founder of BarefootLaw (Uganda); Rudayna Abdo, Founder, CEO and President of Thaki (Lebanon); Shuchin Bajaj, Founder Director of Ujala Cygnus Hospitals (India); Temie Giwa-Tubosun, CEO of LifeBank Group (Nigeria); Xia Li, Founder of Shenzhen Power-Solution (China).

Public Social Innovators

Chantal Line Carpentier, Head of the Trade, Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development branch of the UN Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) Division on International Trade and Commodities (Switzerland) and Chair of the UN Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy (UNTFSSE); Ibu Vivi Yulaswati, Director of Indonesia’s Ministry of National Development Planning and Head of the National Secretariat for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (Indonesia); Juan Martinez Louvier, General Director of the National Institute for Social Economy in the Mexican Government (Mexico).

Corporate Social Innovators

Saugata Banerjee, Global Head of Sustainable Programming at EssilorLuxottica (Singapore); Ruchika Singhal, President of Medtronic LABS (USA).

Collective Social Innovators

Financing Alliance for Health (Kenya), led by CEO Angela Gichaga.

Amazon Sacred Headwaters Initiative (Ecuador/Peru), co-led by Domingo Peas Nampichkai, President of the governing board, and Atossa Soltani, Director of Global Strategy and Belén Páez as Secretary - General

StriveTogether (US), co-led by Jennifer Blatz, President and CEO, Vanessa Carlo-Miranda, Chief Operating Officer, and Colin Groth, Chief Advancement Officer.

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Social InnovationDavos Agenda
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