The threats facing our planet are gaining pace, and we find ourselves racing towards an ecological crisis. This is a collective challenge, and to truly create change, we need more than individual solution-builders – we need green changemakers who are catalyzing those around them to also take action; we need solutions that are activating others and creating a role for everyone to contribute as problem-solvers.
The Ashoka and HSBC ‘Green Changemakers Challenge’ is a global innovation challenge open to changemakers with solutions that are equipping others with the mindset and capabilities to contribute towards building a sustainable and equitable world.
The challenge aims to support those individuals helping people and communities find the role they can play in tackling the climate crisis and making sure no one is left out of this process.
The challenge will award innovators with up to $25,000 of grant funding from a total prize fund of $225,000, and the opportunity to participate in a learning journey with Ashoka & HSBC.
We are searching for green changemakers who are:
Creating inclusive pathways for people to contribute: We’re seeking solutions that are bringing more people into the climate conversation, especially those who have historically been excluded. These solutions are equitable by design and increase diversity in the global community working on climate change.
Turning data and information into stories that spark action: We’re seeking solutions that are making climate data and knowledge more accessible, and those that are telling inspiring stories to mobilize others to action.
Creating structures of support for existing solutions: We’re seeking solutions that are built to support other solutions – by enabling the creation of new solutions; scaling existing solutions or making them more visible; and prioritizing the traditional knowledge of those communities who have always preserved our natural resources.
Connection and commitment: You have a strong commitment to green changemaking. Due to your proximity to the problem and/or connection to the community impacted, your approach to taking action involves community participation.
Activating green changemakers: Your approach enables other people to identify as green changemakers. It multiplies changemakers, activates them to take action and build solutions for a sustainable and equitable world.
Impact: Your solution contributes to a zero-carbon world – where people and the planet can both thrive. In this vision for a sustainable and equitable future, your solution has sufficient evidence of its scale, depth and/or speed of socio-environmental impact.
Innovation: Your solution is original and creative. This might involve inventing something new, novel use of technology, or applying existing approaches in new ways or to a new context. We are particularly interested in solutions that use regenerative approaches to spark mindset shifts that lead to widespread change.
Operational viability: Your initiative must have realistic plans for continuing to create impact in the long-run through (a) the feasibility, scalability, replicability and adaptability of your solution in local contexts; and (b) mobilizing resources such as team members, partnerships, funding or other support networks.
In addition to our evaluation criteria described above, the group of winning teams will be selected to represent the diversity of applications received and the diversity of the field. Diversity will refer to: gender, accessibility, class, ethnicity, race and age. Diversity can be showcased in the target audience of a project, its partners or the team representing it.
Challenge Resources & Team
If you are looking for relevant opportunities to engage with, our team has you covered. Consider exploring one or more of these avenues and ongoing engagements👇
🏆Prudential Emerging Visionaries (by November 2, 2023): Ashoka is looking for changemakers between the ages of 14 and 18 in the US and Puerto Rico who are taking steps to tackle financial and societal challenges. Winners may qualify to receive up to $15,000, an all-expenses-paid trip to Prudential's headquarters with a parent or guardian, and coaching and skills development to help take their innovative solution to the next level. Explore, apply here
🍃Gaharu Bumi Innovation Challenge (by December 15, 2023): We are all part of the cause of climate crisis that is threatening the whole world, but we can also choose to be part of the change. Changemaking is possible; It can be done by everyone, everywhere, and it can even start with you, your family, or your community. Have you, your family, your community collaborated to slow down climate crisis? This challenge is open to residents of Indonesia. Explore, apply here
📖Time for Change Challenge (by January 18, 2024): This new challenge is a chance for young people in First Book communities in the US to exercise their changemaking muscles; giving them a platform to share their bold ideas, get connected to other innovative kids, and tackle problems that matter to them. Receive $1000 as a grant prize to start your changemaking journey. Explore, apply here
🌟Picture the Change (Climate Fellowship for Artists): ClimArts is a UK-based organisation dedicated to climate storytelling. Their mission is to upskill and empower 50,000 artists and experts worldwide to communicate climate solutions effectively by 2030. Through their work, they found that effective storytelling is a climate solution in itself and to equip the already existing storytellers, a dire need. ClimArts just launched a bespoke 3-week Fellowship for all artists, called “Picture the Change: Using Evidence-based Creativity to Catalyze Climate Action”. Enroll now
🌐Ashoka Community: For anyone doing, communicating, or funding positive change - looking to connect with Ashoka Fellows, partners, and our European network of changemakers. Explore Ashoka Community here
🍃Ashoka Fellows & Fellowship: Ashoka Fellows are among the world’s leading social entrepreneurs. They champion innovative new ideas that transform society’s systems, providing benefits for everyone and improving the lives of millions of people. Ashoka Fellows define the new roadmaps that allow people to thrive in this new environment while providing solutions and demonstrating the how-tos. Learn more about Ashoka Fellows here
➰Ashoka's Planet & Climate work: Our planet is in crisis, and we are responsible for it. We have deluded ourselves into thinking that humans are separate from and superior to, nature. How do we fundamentally rebalance that relationship? How can our economic systems prioritize creating shared well-being on a healthy planet? How can we bring unlikely allies and skeptics on board? Explore what works | + "Learning Out Loud" w/Planet & Climate
🌀Ashoka Globalizer: Work with changemakers around the world to identify and effectively address systemic root causes of social and environmental problems. Explore online courses, case studies, podcast seasons, and ecosystem reports
⚙️ASPIRe: A global initiative from Ashoka exploring innovative ways in which social entrepreneurs (SE) can make systemic impact using platform thinking supported by technology. Read more about ASPIRe and engage with knowledge materials
🏅Changemaking Takes A Team: How sport, play, and physical activity have the potential to shift mindsets. This inaugural insights and strategy report is an invitation to explore together how to leverage sport as a platform towards a more just, equitable and regenerative world. Read the full report here | + Explore Sport for an Everyone a Changemaker world
🤔Hello World Report: Migration: People on the Move: Every migrant is a changemaker. Everywhere, all the time. Read the full report here | + Explore Ashoka's Hello World
♣️Social Good Club: Think Tank: Explore resources on how to work with creators in order to solve the world’s most pressing problems. Download the Creator Playbook here | + Explore the Think Tank
🤝New Allies 2023: How can social entrepreneurs and INGOs collaborate to drive systems change? What barriers do they face in the attempt to work together? What are the critical success factors for these partnerships? Explore the insights and report here
📹Livelihoods for All: A new video series celebrating social entrepreneurs in India whose work contributes to equality, inclusion, and decent livelihood, and brings women back into the workforce by putting them at the center across different domains of skilling and livelihoods. Watch the full video series here on YouTube
💧Water for Climate Healing - A New Water Paradigm: The White Paper describes the water cycle and the methodology of cooperation in restoring global water cycles, adopting and implementing effective measures at local, regional and national levels by restoring small water cycles on continents. Read the white paper here on the UN website
To make the Green Changemakers Challenge more accessible, the challenge team offered various avenues for support to everyone - to address everything from technical challenges to turning in a strong application.
Here’s the summary of this support during the challenge’s entry phase:
🎙️Q&A Interaction w/Challenge Team: One hour-long online interaction where the team provided relevant information about the challenge while addressing all questions from the community - in an open forum.
- [completed] March 24, 2023. Click here to watch the recording of this first Q&A interaction
- [completed] April 19, 2023. Click here to watch the recording of this first Q&A interaction
🤝Personal 1-on-1 Consultation w/Challenge Team Member: Until April 26 (our final entry window), the team was accessible online via a limited number of 30-minute 1-on-1 consultation slots. During these 30 minutes, the team provided personalized support while getting to know our community better.
- [completed] April 6 to 26, 2023. The team supported a little over 20 teams during this period
🕔The 11th Hours w/Challenge Team: To provide support to applicants during crucial periods - close to the final entry window of April 26, the team was available online for two hours to resolve any query about applying for the challenge either in an open forum or 1-on-1 using breakout rooms.
- [completed] April 21, 2023. About one week before the entry window closed
- [completed] April 24, 2023. Two days before the entry window closed
While the interactive support sessions are closed to those who did not apply to the challenge, the team continues to be available for e-mail support at [email protected] for everyone:
You will get a response within 2 days for simple or easy-to-explain queries
For technical issues or more complex queries, you will generally get a resolution within 3 days
🙌Meet Ashoka’s Green Changemakers Challenge team:
Manages our challenge partnership with HSBC’s Sustainability team, and leads our branding and communications
Leads the entire challenge, end-to-end, enabling people to collaborate and co-create for the best challenge experience
Leads research and knowledge management for the challenge, to ensure that our evaluations are inclusive and accurate
Integrates with Ashoka teams and community members globally, helping grow the diversity of our community
Manages engagement and support for those interested in participating or partnering on the challenge
People supporting the strategy, operations, and technology of the challenge:
Stephanie Haapalainen Ambar, Challenge Advisor
Daniela Matielo, Partnership Co-Lead
Kelly Davies, Partnership Co-Lead
Eduardo Delphino, Platform Support Manager
Temitope Isedowo, Challenge Platform Manager
Louisa Konchellah, Operations and General Challenge Support
Sam Schenk, Challenge Support Intern
Ambika Aggarwal, Challenge Support Intern
1. Are residents of all countries eligible to apply?
You can apply for the challenge only if you are currently a resident of one of the 34 eligible countries listed below.
2. Which are the eligible countries? Why those specific countries?
Eligible countries: Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bangladesh, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Vietnam.
The 34 countries have been selected because they meet the criteria of being relevant to the challenge sponsor, HSBC, relevant to the topic of activating a Green Changemaker movement, and importantly, they are all countries where Ashoka has capacity to run due diligence checks and disburse funds. We appreciate that there will be great innovations happening outside of our eligibility criteria which we unfortunately will be unable to support with this particular challenge.
3. I don’t have a registered organization. Can I still apply?
Yes, if your venture is not incorporated yet (as a non-profit, for-profit, or hybrid organization); you can still apply if you are close to incorporating in the near future.
4. I have previously won an Ashoka Challenge, can I apply?
Applicants who have previously won an HSBC Challenge with Ashoka are not eligible to apply. All other Ashoka Challenge winners (where HSBC has not been a partner) are eligible to apply.
5. I have been funded by HSBC before, can I apply?
No. Partners or initiatives that are already financed or supported by HSBC its affiliates, subsidiaries or joint ventures are not eligible
6. Can my team members edit my entry on the challenge platform?
No. The platform does not currently allow multiple people to edit the same entry.
7. Can an individual/organization make multiple applications?
No, only one application per individual/initiative will be accepted.
8. Can a Network Partner enter?
Yes, Network Partners are eligible to apply for the challenge.
9. Can I include attachments with my application?
No, attachments cannot be uploaded. However, you’ll have the opportunity to upload images with your application.
10. Do all applications have to be English?
- Yes, all applications must be in English for consistency and to make it easier for our reviewers to go through the applications.
11. How will the Early Entry winners be selected?
All eligible applicants who apply by March 29th will be evaluated against each other based on the above evaluation criteria. Apps will be scored and reviewed by the challenge team who will then deliberate on the top 3 winners.
12. If I win an Early Entry prize, can I still win the Challenge?
Yes, all 3 Early Entry prize winners will still be eligible to win the Challenge.
However, winning the Early Entry prize does not guarantee that you will be shortlisted for the next stage of the Challenge but it does mean that you get $1,500 to support your project!
13. How many winners will there be?
- The Challenge will have up to 12 winners, with the opportunity to win minimum $15,000 and maximum $25,000 each. The Challenge Team will decide funding amounts awarded to each winner.
14. How many times can I edit my application?
You can edit your application as many times as you want before the 26 April 2023 deadline.