Schwab Foundation searches for leading social entrepreneurs

The Schwab Foundation searches for leading social entrepreneurs around the world. Social Entrepreneurs have been selected into the Foundation’s network after a thorough due diligence process, including outside expert reviews and site visits. Until today, the network includes over 200 social entrepreneurs.
Social entrepreneurs may be considered for inclusion in the network by winning the “Social Entrepreneur of the Year” distinction in one of the countries in which the Schwab Foundation is collaborating with a partner company.

Social Entrepreneur Of The Year
The Schwab Foundation works with media and corporate partners in several countries and regions to search and select the most acomplished social entrepreneurs every year. An eminent jury then elects “The Social Entrepreneur of the Year”.

The main criteria for selection are:
1. Innovation: The candidate has transformed traditional practice through an innovative product, service, approach, or a more rigorous application of known technologies and ideas.
2. Sustainability: The organisation is achieving some degree of financial self-sustainability through revenues or is engaged in creating mutually beneficial partnerships with business and/or the public sector.
3. Direct social impact: The candidate implements the initiative directly with poor or marginalised beneficiaries. Impact manifests itself in quantifiable results.


Regional Meetings of the World Economic Forum
Winners are invited to participation at the regional meeting of the World Economic Forum, which also provides them with the opportunity to connect to business leaders, key politicians, civil society members and media representatives of the region. Social entrepreneurs working in these regions make important contributions to the outcome-centred discussions and to the key initiatives of World Economic Forum on topics such as health, education and the digital divide. The Foundation covers the costs of the registration fee, transportation, food and lodging for social entrepreneurs at his/her first regional event.

Inclusion in the Schwab Foundation network of leading social entrepreneurs.
The winners will be included in the Schwab Foundation network of social entrepreneurs. This includes access to a peer network of social entrepreneurs, special benefits such as pro-bono consulting services and scholarships to executive education courses at world-class institutions such as Harvard Business School, Stanford University and INSEAD.

Possible nomination to the Forum of Young Global Leaders
Excellent finalists or winners under 40 years of age will also be nominated to the Young Global Leaders (YGL) network of the World Economic Forum. The YGL group is a community of proven global leaders under 40 years of age who have achieved national and global recognition for their accomplishments in the field of government, business, media or academia. The YGL community holds their own major YGL events twice a year. The synergies catalyzed by bringing the YGL and social entrepreneur communities together has proven to have significant impact for both groups.

Possible nomination to the Global Agenda Councils
World-class social entrepreneurs will be invited to join the global social entrepreneur community, which includes the prospect of being invited to join and contribute towards the Global Agenda Councils of the World Economic Forum.

Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum
The winners are eligible to be selected as part of the Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur delegation to the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, taking place at the end of January.  The registration fee, and in some cases, transportation, food and lodging, will be covered by the Foundation.

The Foundation works in close collaboration with the Forum to ensure Davos participants benefit from social entrepreneurs' know-how and insights derived from galvanizing communities to successfully carry out pioneering initiatives that have improved economic opportunity and quality of life.  The Forum connects the community of social entrepreneurs with corporate and government leaders that legitimize and facilitate their work.


1. Transformative Social Change
The social enterprise achieves transformative social and/or environmental change through the application of innovative and practical approaches to benefit society in general, with an emphasis on underserved populations.

The innovation can take the form of:
  • A new product or service;
  • A new production or distribution method;
  • A new labour supply;
  • The reformulation of an existing product for an underserved population; and/or
  • New organizational structures or funding models.
2.  Organizational Sustainability
We interpret ‘organizational sustainability’ in the broadest sense, meaning the organization is not only financially sustainable but that it can also demonstrate a sustainable business model and a proven track record. For example, we do not accept start-ups or pilot projects. Candidate organizations should have at least three years of operations at the time of their application and should clearly be able to demonstrate they have graduated beyond the “proof of concept” phase.

We consider the social enterprise’s business model to be sustainable if it exhibits several of the following salient characteristics:
  • It applies business methods and practices to generate impact, regardless of whether it is for-profit or non-profit.
  • It has moved away from a donor-dependent model and has a diversified funding base.
  • It charges fees for its products and services or for some subset of them, even if the fees are less than market-rate and/or the cost is wholly or partially subsidized by third parties (e.g. governments).
  • It has strong partnerships with key stakeholders, such as the public and private sectors. These partnerships can take the form of in-kind support or fee-for-service contracts.^
  • It leverages partnerships, technology, and/or social media to open-source its method or approach to spread the innovation through a “multiplier effect” faster than it could alone.
With respect to financial sustainability, social enterprises incorporated as non-profits should ideally demonstrate a diverse funding base.  In addition, they have incorporated some degree of cost-recovery (at least 10-20%) into their model through one of the business model methods above. We expect social enterprises incorporated as for-profits to optimize financial value creation as a secondary objective and a means to reach more beneficiaries, not as an end in itself. This “non-dividend” ownership structure should be codified in the social enterprise’s governance structure or by-laws. The organization’s leadership should be willing to share information about its profit margin, how it uses its profits and specific metrics such as the salary ratio.

3.   Proven Social and/or Environmental Impact
Given the complex and interrelated nature of social and environmental problems, we recognize that attempts to evaluate the impact of one organization’s intervention are costly and imperfect. After all, on the most basic level, social enterprises are trying to create more inclusive societies – and that is not easy to measure.
However, social entrepreneurship is a learning process by its very nature. Starting with conceiving a more effective way to address a poorly met or emerging need, the social entrepreneur must then test and refine the initial concept, mobilize the resources and partners necessary to scale the model, and continually improve the offering through rigorous impact measurement and an openness to incorporate feedback.
For this reason, we expect candidate organizations to have a monitoring and evaluation system in place and be able to not only cite quantifiable data when discussing their impact but also explain how the information is used to improve the organization’s product or service offering. These systems can be internal but ideally the impact can be verified by an independent third party. Even if the social enterprise is not able to prove causality between the impact of its activities and transformative change at the system level, the candidate should be able to explain how the organization’s approach transforms traditional practice using the impact measurements that are collected.

4.   Reach and Scope
The social entrepreneur’s initiative has spread beyond its initial location and has been adapted successfully to other settings in the country or internationally, either by the entrepreneur him/herself, or through others who have replicated or adapted elements of it.

5.   Scalability
The initiative has been or can be adapted to other regions of the world to solve similar problems. Because the Schwab Foundation is a global community, social enterprises that demonstrate high potential to replicate their solutions can best leverage the network.  The entrepreneur is open to sharing with others the tools, approaches, and techniques that are critical to the adaptation of the initiative.

6.   The Candidate as Ambassador
We evaluate not only the candidate organization but also the individual(s) leading it, for the very simple reason that the Schwab Foundation network of social entrepreneurs is a community of people. At regional and annual meetings of the World Economic Forum, Schwab Foundation social entrepreneurs interact on a peer-to-peer level with CEOs and public figures and act as ambassadors of their sector and of social entrepreneurship more broadly. In addition, social entrepreneurs are expected to commit their time and energy to building the social innovation field through various taskforces and working groups managed by the Schwab Foundation.


Step 1
- Those interested in being considered as candidates complete the application form. Information gathered in the selection process will remain confidential and submit additional information such as a Curriculum Vitae, a recent evaluation report of the organization, income statements, etc.

Step 2- The Schwab Foundation and local experts review the information forms submitted by Second Round Candidates. Those who qualify are invited to be semi-finalists. At this stage, further information is gathered through site visits to the candidate's organization and/or interviews with the candidate and key informants. This due diligence step enables the selection of the finalists.

Step 4 – Finalists Selected

Step 5 – Selection Committee (Schwab Foundation Board Members) selects the winners

Step 6 -
Winners are annouced

Global Selection Process

The Search and Selection process was established to recognize outstanding social entrepreneurs around the globe, an initiative of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.
The Global Selection is open to all organizations based in 
Having read the criteria for selection, if you believe you qualify as a candidate, please download and complete the application form and return it to us by e-mail (  along with the requested documentation by 31 October 2012 (deadline may be subject to change).




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Cambodia Jobs: Schwab Foundation searches for leading social entrepreneurs
Schwab Foundation searches for leading social entrepreneurs
Cambodia Jobs
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