Applications are open!

All eligible applications will be reviewed by at least two reviewers during this phase.

We believe feedback and collaboration are crucial to creating innovative, impactful solutions. All applicants will receive feedback on 28th June 2021. They will also be notified as to whether they have been selected as semi-finalists or not on this same date.

From 5th July to 23rd July semifinalists will have an opportunity to take on board the feedback they received in the review phase, and improve their application.

Semifinalists will also be asked to answer some additional questions to help us understand their work in more detail. This will help us distinguish between the strongest applicants.

Once semifinalists have had a chance to refine their applications and answer additional questions, their applications will go through another round of reviews.

The highest scoring applications will be selected as finalists and put forward to the Judges' Panel.

An expert panel of judges, composed of senior leadership from HSBC and Ashoka, will assess all finalists and select up to 15 applications as winners.

All organizations selected by the Judges will have to complete due diligence checks before formally being announced as winners of the challenge on 30 September 2021.The winners announcement has been delayed due to a longer than expected due diligence process - please expect an update on 1st or 4th October.

We are excited to announce our 12 winners. By equipping people with “green skills” - the abilities they’ll need to step into jobs that positively impact the planet - these 12 organizations have found a way to solve interconnected social and environmental problems. Their approaches are innovative and impactful, and they vary across different sectors, geographies and livelihoods. Within this diverse group of innovators lies ideas and insight which will be invaluable as we work to transition our global economy to one that is harmonious with a healthy planet and provides dignified work for all.

The winners will be awarded up to $20,000 of grant funding from a total prize fund of $230,000. They'll also have the opportunity to scale their projects to new levels with mentorship from Ashoka and HSBC.

You can explore the winning entries below!

🎉💚Congratulations to our 2023 Green Changemakers Challenge winners! You can read more about their projects here.🔍 Learn more about the insights we've derived from the challenge semi-finalists here.

Have questions or want to get in touch? Please reach out to [email protected].

Are you a green changemaker catalysing others to take action for a sustainable world? Are you equipping those around you with the mindset and capabilities to contribute?

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.

Focus Areas

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.

Prizes and Benefits

  1. Early Entry applicants (those who apply on or before March 29) will:

    1. Receive Ashoka’s feedback on how to improve their application before the Final entry deadline

    2. 3 participants from this group will be selected to receive a $1,500 prize each and will be featured on a social media post

  2. All eligible applicants will:

    1. Receive feedback from Ashoka and/or HSBC representatives

    2. Have a chance to connect with a community of green changemakers through this Challenge

  3. All semi-finalists (up to 60) will:

    1. Have a chance to refine their applications and incorporate feedback received in the screening phase

    2. Be celebrated as semi-finalists in the announcement communications

  4. All finalists (up to 25) will:

    1. Have a chance to be evaluated by a panel of expert judges and receive feedback.

  5. The challenge will have up to 12 winners, who will be selected to represent the diversity of applications received from the 3 focus areas, with at least two winners from each geographic region. The Challenge Team will decide funding amounts awarded to each winner. Winning applications will:

    1. Receive a minimum $15,000 and up to $25,000 cash prize

    2. Have the opportunity to participate in a learning journey & mentoring programme alongside HSBC and Ashoka team members, to help scale your solution.

Evaluation Criteria

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.

Eligibility Criteria

To apply:

  • Your venture must be at an early- or mid- stage. Late-stage ventures (over 6 years of operations and/or profitability) will not be eligible for selection in this challenge

  • You must be 18 or above at the time of submitting this application

  • If your solution has not been implemented at scale; you must have a clear business plan and a minimum-viable solution (prototype, pilot, or another proof of concept)

  • If your venture is not incorporated yet (as a non-profit, for-profit, or hybrid organization); you must be close to incorporation in the near future

  • Entries will only be accepted in English (winners will be expected to engage in activities that require English proficiency)

  • We are open to entries from the following 34 countries:

    • Africa and Middle East: Algeria, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates.
    • Americas and the Caribbean: Argentina, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Uruguay, United States of America.
    • Europe and Oceania: Armenia, Australia, France, Germany, Greece, Malta, United Kingdom.
    • South and East Asia: Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand , Vietnam.

    Additional terms:

    • Only one application per individual/venture will be accepted

    • Employees of HSBC, advertising agencies, promotion agencies and other service providers for this Challenge, their immediate family members (spouse, parent, child, sibling, regardless of where they reside) are not eligible

    • Partners or past HSBC challenge winners or initiatives that are already financed or supported by HSBC, its affiliates, subsidiaries or joint ventures are not eligible


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👇

📌Changemaking Opportunities

🏆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

Changemaking Networks

🌐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 Resources

🏅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


🌱Challenge Support

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:

Interactive Support

🎙️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

E-Mail Support

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:


Rhea Kewalramani

Manages our challenge partnership with HSBC’s Sustainability team, and leads our branding and communications


Rhea’s LinkedIn

June Wardé

Leads the entire challenge, end-to-end, enabling people to collaborate and co-create for the best challenge experience


June’s LinkedIn

Jedidah Muthui

Leads research and knowledge management for the challenge, to ensure that our evaluations are inclusive and accurate


Jedidah’s LinkedIn

Profile picture of Eleonora Cadone

Eleonora Cadone

Integrates with Ashoka teams and community members globally, helping grow the diversity of our community


Eleonora’s LinkedIn

Aravind Kannan

Manages engagement and support for those interested in participating or partnering on the challenge

Aravind’s LinkedIn



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?

  1. 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?

  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  1. 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?

  1. 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?

  1. 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?

  1. No. The platform does not currently allow multiple people to edit the same entry.


7. Can an individual/organization make multiple applications?

  1. No, only one application per individual/initiative will be accepted.


8. Can a Network Partner enter?

  1. Yes, Network Partners are eligible to apply for the challenge.


9. Can I include attachments with my application?

  1. 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?

  1. 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?

  1. 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?

  1. Yes, all 3 Early Entry prize winners will still be eligible to win the Challenge.

  2. 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?

  1. 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?

  1. You can edit your application as many times as you want before the 26 April 2023 deadline.

Read More

Terms & Conditions for the Green Changemakers Challenge can be found here


    Challenge opens
    March 1
    Early Entry deadline
    March 29 At 5pm UTC
    Final entry deadline and Early Entry winners announced
    April 26 At 5pm UTC
    Application screening and feedback
    April & May
    Semifinalists announced
    May 31
    Application refining
    May 31 to June 12
    June 12 to July 5
    Judges review and due diligence
    Winner announcement
    1st week of August
    Winner engagement and learning journey
    August to December