Scaling-up social entrepreneurship

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The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship helps amplify innovative solutions to the most serious social, cultural and environmental issues.

The challenge

Social entrepreneurs are designing fixes for the world’s most serious challenges. To achieve maximum impact, they often need greater visibility, credibility, access to finance, partnerships, favourable policy, media attention and an increased knowledge of global affairs.

The strategy

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship was founded in 1998 to provide the world’s most promising social entrepreneurs with global exposure, and to facilitate wider adoption and scaling-up of their innovations.

The Schwab Foundation community comprises more than 330 social entrepreneurs. The community connects the entrepreneurs and supports the replication among peers of their methodologies. Entrepreneurs also participate on Forum meetings, where they can connect with corporate, political, academic, media and other leaders.

Each year, the Foundation selects 10-15 new community members through the global Social Entrepreneur of the Year competition. The selected candidates are developing and implementing solutions to the foremost social, cultural or environmental issues. Awardees in 2017 focused on challenges ranging from refugee family reunification and human rights to water infrastructure and financial inclusion.

The impact

The Foundation helps social entrepreneurs develop the corporate partnerships necessary to significantly scale-up their operations.
"Being selected as a member of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship gave us exactly the platform we needed to take KickStart to a whole new level. We developed partnerships with major new donors at Davos, including our $6 million partnership with John Deere. We were featured in Time, Newsweek and many other publications. We met a dynamic community of Social Entrepreneurs whom we still learn from today. We have increased our annual impacts by a factor of 3.5 since 2003, and to date have lifted over 500,000 people out of poverty. None of this would have been possible without the Schwab Foundation and the World Economic Forum."
Martin J. Fisher and Nick Moon, KickStart International, Kenya

The Foundation helps social entrepreneurs to expand regionally.
"Four years ago, I had the pleasure to participate at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East at the Dead Sea. Connections with local business leaders made at this event led directly to Endeavor's launches in Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, setting in motion our expansion across the Middle East."
Linda Rottenberg, Endeavor Global, USA

The Foundation helps social entrepreneurs share knowledge and form partnerships.
"The Schwab Foundation’s initiative in bringing together Social Entrepreneurs from all over the world is unique. The exposure we received from the World Economic Forum greatly helped us convince policy-makers in Pakistan to accept our incremental development approach to housing. It also resulted in a partnership with Waste Concern of Bangladesh for a compost plant."
Tasneem A. Siddiqui, Saiban – Action Research for Shelter, Pakistan