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About the Ashoka
Visionary Program


The Ashoka Visionary Program is a pioneering, part-time leadership program for social entrepreneurs, as well as professionals and leaders from business, NGOs, philanthropic and public sectors from all over the world.

The program is playful, full of creativity and surprises. In the image, a participant of th Ashoka Visionary Program in Central and Eastern Europe, with blond hair and a rose short, blows into self-made paper trumpet. Along with children in the background.
Participant of the Ashoka Visionary Program in East Africa, in a red T-Shirt and glasses, listening intently to the session.

Are you a pioneering executive and want to be equipped with the know-how and skills to solve societal problems in an entrepreneurial way? The cohort-based program offers a comprehensive learning package around social entrepreneurship, a one-of-a-kind global network, and moments with peers to remember.

Once prototyped and operated out of the Ashoka Austria office, the program is now offered in three regions: Central and Eastern Europe, East Africa and Mediterranean Europe. If you join, you will be part of group of 30 diverse social leaders, all gathered under one roof for an a 9-month transformational learning journey!

9 years of the Ashoka visionary program 40 years of ashoka


To bring about change we need to understand how to solve societal problems. To innovate, decision makers need to seek external inspiration for solutions, serve as pioneers for their organizations and cultivate a new way of seeing society’s emerging challenges and possibilities. To build solutions together, it takes a new culture of collaboration and co-creation.

We found that there are no programs out there teaching changemaking skills in an entrepreneurial and immersive way, deriving theory from learnings from practitioners and creating a space for changemakers to co-create. So, we decided to change that by founding the Ashoka Visionary Program in 2015 in Vienna, Austria.

Ashoka is the global organisation working with thousands of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs and building an „Everyone a Changemaker“-world. In the 40 years since we created the field of „social entrepreneurship“, we have developed unique, practice-oriented know-how in new leadership and social innovations that we haven’t found anywhere else. Now we want to share this knowledge with people who want to become leaders of social change in their field.

Meet Ashoka

We saw that there’s a very specific know-how needed to become a successful social entrepreneur, and this know-how is nowhere to be found. Ashoka has developed methods, concepts and tools to support the scaling of the impact of social entrepreneurs and build the sector of social entrepreneurship.

Co-Director Ashoka Austria,
Director Ashoka Visionary Program

Meet: A unique network

Meet some of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, pioneers of social innovation and change, representatives of big foundations like Ondrej Liska (Regional Director Porticus CEE/MENAT) as well as business leaders like Emmanuel de Lutzel (Vice President BNP Paribas) or Stephan Dertnig (Business angel, trainer & investor; formerly Founder BCG Russia) in each of the 7 modules. Over the course of the program, you will benefit from a powerful network and build your own strong connections. With…


Portrait of Ashoka Fellow Karen Tse
Ashoka Fellow, Founder of International Bridges to Justice

Building international coalitions to support public defenders in emerging democracies.

Ashoka Fellow, Co-Founder of atempo

creating equal opportunities for people with severe learning difficulties, incl. a digital tool to simplify difficult and incomprehensible words and phrases

Ashoka Fellow, Founder of the non-profit organization APOPO

Training the famous HeroRats to detect thousands of buried land mines, cheaply freeing up farming land and living space.

Ashoka Fellow, Director of the Belgian NGO Regionaal Landschap Kempen en Maasland

Connecting nature conservation with sustainable economic development through a new national park concept

Meet the Ashoka Fellows who joined the Ashoka Visionary Program before.


Portrait of Marie Ringler, Director Ashoka Europe. Women with short, dark hair. Wearing a black T-Shirt and yellow blazer.
Director Ashoka Europe, Member of Ashoka’s Global Leadership Group, Founder of Ashoka Austria
Portrait of Nassir Kuturamu, wearing a blue suit and striped-blue-white tie.
Co-Creation Consultant & Venture Manager in Ashoka East Africa
portrait of Ashoka Fellow Andraes Heinecke, wearing a dark-grey t-shirt
Ashoka Fellow, CEO and Founder of Dialogue Social Enterprise


Key Experts & Speakers

During the program, you will learn from a diverse, selected experts and pioneering practitioners:

Ashoka Fellows, and other world-class social entrepreneurs.
academic experts from Ashoka’s network of partner universities.

Meet our experts & speakers

Social Entrepreneurs

You can choose to work together with an Ashoka Fellow or another leading social entrepreneur.

Alternatively, you can work on your own impact challenges in co-creation with a diverse team. Be surprised by the diverse changemakers you will meet as participants in your cohort.

Learn more about your options

Alumni Network

You will become part of our global Visionary Program Alumni network that connects changemakers and their ideas.

As an Alumnus/a, you will be invited to join Ashoka’s events across Europe and become a valued member of the global social entrepreneurship movement.

Meet our alumni = visionary leaders of change

Learn: Your Social Impact Journey in 7 steps

Now let’s get to the core of the program that you were waiting for! Your journey will consist of 7 modules that last two days each and covers the life cycle of a social enterprise. During each module, experts on the respective topic will pass on cutting-edge know-how and practical experience.


Social entrepreneurship, innovation and changemaking

Spotting opportunities in the emerging market of social entrepreneurship for new system-changing ideas, social innovations, and collaborations.

Systems change strategy

Identifying root causes of the problem, formulating targeted systemic changes and designing a strategy to make them happen

Influencing  mindsets, narratives and behaviours

Uncovering mental models that play a critical role in maintaining the status-quo and designing actionable pathways to establish new narratives and norms.

Scaling up  solutions and co-creation

Increasing the reach of proven solutions via replication, and getting government and corporate partners to take up and institutionalize ideas.

Leadership, collaborative impact and changemaking networks

Getting inspired by the leadership style that unlocks changemaker potential of people and builds fertile ground for collective action.

Hybrid business models for systems change

Learning about key principles of funding systems change and crafting hybrid models of securing resources.

Storytelling for changemakers

Designing and communicating powerful stories that motivate people to join your (ad)venture. 

The modules include a diverse set of formats including workshops, team building exercises, pitches, evening events with space for networking, reflections and thoughtful exchange. The speakers, contributors and content details of the program vary per region.

Objectives of the program: learn, understand, start - your own changemaker journey and create - your own vision for a better society. Visualised in graphic recording style.
Agenda from one of the first program editions, depicted as a winding line with milestones. In graphic recording style.
Participant of the Ashoka Visionary Program in CEE from behind, walking in coversation after the end of a session. Pinboards and a flipchart in the background.


As part of the program, you will choose between two ways to put your learnings into practice on a topic that you care about:

Work with an Ashoka Fellow or other leading social entrepreneur on a challenging assignment (as an executive in residence)

• You will develop strategic products (e.g. impact, business and scaling plans), identify development needs, and mobilize corresponding resources, as well as spot opportunities and strengthen networks around the social entrepreneur’s mission.

• We at Ashoka will find the perfect match for you to ensure an inspiring practical learning experience. Placements will be agreed individually with participants and social entrepreneurs before the program starts.

Gregor Demblin, the founder of my Ability, Gerald Koller, the inventor of risflecting, Martin Hollinetz, founder of OTELO, and many more experienced social entrepreneurs have committed themselves to support and participate in the program.

Develop and design your own social entrepreneurship initiative

• Candidates already engaged in social entrepreneurial initiatives can develop these during the program. They will be offered to draw upon the know-how and experience of both experienced lecturers and practitioners in social entrepreneurship.

• Throughout this process, regular coaching and mentoring will be available for this group of participants. This will be provided by selected pro-bono partners from the business, public and social entrepreneurial sectors.

Coaching circles of participants will be organized.



Executives and leaders of change from all sectors accelerating social impact initiatives in their environment. Pioneers striving for new careers, business and social impact pathways in society.

Our participants include:
• Ashoka Fellows
• Current and future social entrepreneurs
• Representatives of corporate world and the public sector, civil society/NGOs, foundations, and impact founders
• Highly motivated professionals


While we’re mostly looking for leading changemakers to join our program, we are open to other applications based on three minimum requirements.

• The desire to become a thought leader and changemaker
• 5 years of work experience
• Good English skills

Our ideal candidate has:
• A track record of innovative solutions and successful
• Strong social and emotional intelligence, interpersonal skills, and ability to lead
• Thought leadership
• Proven, excellent problem-solving capabilities; persistence
• A positive attitude and an open mindset


Part-time, 9 months. 7 modules of 2 days each

15 days of in-class sessions
(Friday – Saturday)

Tailored fieldwork with a social entrepreneur


Our locations vary by region. The Central-European program, with which it all started, is held at the heart of Europe: in Vienna. Some modules may take place online due to COVID restrictions. Find out more here:

CEE Europe
East Africa
Mediterranean Europe


EUR 10,000. Stipends are available for leaders from the foundation-, corporate- and NGO-sectors. Selected Ashoka Fellows join for a reduced fee of 1,000€.


Our application dates vary by region.
Find out more here:

CEE Europe
East Africa
Mediterranean Europe

Have questions? Reach out to us at visionaryprogram@ashoka.org.

Apply now!

Find out about starting dates, stipends & co. on the subpages of our three regional programs:


Have more questions about the program?
Then check our FAQs, Impact and Story!

Want to ask us a question?
Reach out to us at visionaryprogram@ashoka.org