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The Leadership Program in Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation begins


by Pavlína Hořejšová

On October 1st Ashoka will host the first in its series of Social Entrepreneurship Talks (more), a set of special evenings open to the public that will accompany the events of the groundbreaking Leadership Program in Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation. The October 1st Kick-Off event will feature fantastic speakers!


Ashoka will bring one of its most famous Fellows as our keynote speaker for the evening, Bart Weetjens of apopo, an organization that trains the famous HeroRats (more) to detect thousands of buried landmines on African soil, freeing up farming land and living space at a fraction of the cost and time it takes with traditional detection equipment. Bart will be talking to you not only about the incredible success of apopo itself, but how ideas like mine-sniffing rats represent a movement of innovative solutions to lingering challenges. (watch the New York Times video)

Next speaker is Mark Cheng, Director of Ashoka Europe and founder of Chelwood Capital, a social investment firm that supports mission-driven organization. He has more than 15 years of experience in finance, having previously worked at Deutsche Bank and AMBAC Assurance. If you are wondering how we can scale the important solutions for society’s biggest problems and start creating worldwide system-change, Mark has some ideas. His recent article „Moving Ideas to the Mainstream“in Stanford Social Innovation (co-author Caroline Guyot) presents “three steps to changing societal norms to create massive scale,“ and he will elaborate on these ideas on October 1st.


Ashoka Fellow Norbert Kunz (Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2010, Social Entrepreneur of Europe 2011) will also be sharing in-depth knowledge and diverse experience from his work as co-founder of numerous organizations, such as the German Microfinance Institute and Stattauto Carsharing AG Berlin. With over 20 years in the field, Norbert has been working in social entrepreneurship about as long as we have had a word for it!

The Leadership Program in Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation focuses on collaboration between the business sector and social entrepreneurs, and will feature many expert voices on the topics that are inspiring and revolutionizing this field. Having such energetic and knowledgeable voices for program participants, Program Director Raphaela Toncic-Sorijn from Vienna and the Ashoka team really felt that the greater community could benefit from these perspectives. Out of this desire to share the inspiration with the public, the Social Entrepreneurship Talks have been created—for anyone interested in the social entrepreneurship movement, impact-based solutions and truly collaborative business for the future…for YOU!


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