To create an “Everyone a Changemaker” world, deeper insights from a more fully representative population of social entrepreneurs globally is the knowledge base the world needs to shape the direction of society for the good of all.

For 40 years, Ashoka has learned from its leading social entrepreneurs, now approximately 3,700 Fellows, to understand the direction and pace of social innovation and anticipate the way societies will develop across the globe.

To strengthen these insights, we carried out a Global Fellows Study in 2021, surveying 817 Fellows across 81 countries and, for the first time, we included a question about diversity in the survey. This article presents initial findings from this data in relation to the trends and challenges we observe in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in our network and what this might imply for the social entrepreneurship sector.

We find that the opportunity to connect with social entrepreneurs from diverse fields, geographies, and backgrounds within Ashoka’s Fellowship has offered a space to further innovate and to build community across a common commitment for change for the good of all. Also, social entrepreneurs that self-identify with minorities contribute to enhancing the scope and quality of the network by representing communities they are proximate leaders in, as well as by contributing key assets, and in their ability to build relationships. Intentionally seeking and fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion is an on-going process key to ensure these positive relationships, interactions and skill sharing happens and accelerates effective change processes.

Throughout this paper you will find:

  • Why we intentionally cultivate diversity (and how this brings key assets to the network);
  • How inclusion and diversity strengthen diversity;
  • The importance of acknowledging the reality and aim of equity;
  • What are the areas that need further study and steps to move forward with DEI. 

Read these on Social Innovations Journal's website, here


About the authors:

Bunmi Otegbade is Senior Change Leader at Ashoka.

Kenny Clewett is Lead for Venture Europe and Co-Director of Hello World at Ashoka.

Lorena Garcia Duran is Global Leader for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Ashoka.