Nov 15, 2006
By: Alvaro Fernandez
What an event yesterday night. My wife and I were fortunate to visit the Google Campus and attend the Sixth Annual North American Fellowship Induction Program of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, a social venture fund where we have been involved for a number of years, and thanks to which (thanks Michele!) my wife and I met in the first place.
18 new Ashoka Fellows/ social entrepreneurs were elected, and after a fun cocktail reception the ceremony began. Sergei Brin (Google Co-founder), Sheryl Sandberg (who helped launch Google Foundation and google.org), Salar Kamangar (the mind behind AdWords) gave introductory remarks. Salar explained how he first heard of Ashoka (through the book How to Change the World, by David Bornstein) and how he saw tremendous similarities between Ashoka and Google: both 1) see and support individuals as forces of disruption, give them the freedom to grow and experiment, while they make sure to “get out of their way”, 2) once the ideas and models grow, they help create the right connections to help scale.
Other speakers included Anousheh Ansari, entrepreneur and “first female private space explorer”, Master of Ceremonies Don Shalvey, founder of Aspire Public Schools, Trabian Shorters, Ashoka US Co-Director, and James Jensen, ED of the Jenesis Group, the foundation that helped Ashoka launch its US chapter in 1999. James delivered a very touching a passionate welcome to the new fellows, calling them “merciful mavericks that motivate the human heart” and “whose main compass is impact and compassion).
Then, of couse, we had the luxury to hear Bill Drayton, Founder and CEO of Ashoka, entrepreneur and visionary, who helped launch the field of social entrepreneurship 25 years ago.Ã‚Â Some of his remarks (may not be verbatim, but close)
– (About the new Ashoka Fellows) “based on our historical data, we can predict that 18 out of the 18 entrepreneurs we are welcoming today will still commited to their fields in 5 years, that over 90% of them will see their projects replicated by third-parties nationally and internationally, and more than 50% will have influenced national policy in 5-10 years.”
– “We are living a historic moment, where the monopoly of initiative by a few is being replaced by the new adage that Everyone Is a Changemaker, where every person can be a full citizen”
– “The business sector has been so successful for centuries because it has motivated and rewarded changemakers very well. The citizen sector is now undergoing the same process”
– “This new attitude is not easy. Leading change is more complex than learning how to ride a bike; it requires teamwork, planning, perseverance. Teenagers and young adults must be offered the opportunity to practice and practice, as early as possible, which is why we launched and are so excited about Youth Venture ”
– Business and Society are coming together. Today there are multiple examples of “hybrid value chains’ in which companies and citizen organizations partner in order to accomplish their goals more successfully
– “We all must give ourselves permission to find the answers, connect to our dreams, and prepare a better world for the children of tomorrow”
Some previous related posts:
Microfinance, and a very sharp brain
In our view of the world, each of these social entrepreneurs are very veryÃ‚Â sharp brains. Enjoy,Ã‚Â