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About the Ashoka
Visionary Program

What?

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!

7 years of the Ashoka visionary program 40 years of ashoka

WHY?

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.

Raphaela Tončić-Sorinj, small portrait image
RAPHAELA TONČIĆ-SORINJ
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…

GROUNDBREAKING ASHOKA FELLOWS, LIKE THESE:

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

Building international coalitions to support public defenders in emerging democracies.

portrait of Ashoka Fellow Katharina Kruppa
KATHARINA KRUPP
Ashoka Fellow, Founder of Grow Together

Transforming early childhood development support for families from high-risk backgrounds through a holistic approach.

portrait of Ashoka Fellow Bart Weetjens, with one his HeroRats sitting on his right shoulder
BART WEETJENS
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.

Portrait of Ashoka Fellow Jos de Blok, below a sign reading "Buurtzorg" - the name of his social entreprise
JOS DE BLOK
Ashoka Fellow, Founder and CEO of Buurtzorg (neighborhood nursing)

Creating a new model anchored on the self-management capacity of nursing professionals, resulting in a more responsive, patient-centric system giving better quality care.

LEADING EXPERTS IN THE FIELD, LIKE THESE:

Portrait of Marie Ringler, Director Ashoka Europe. Women with short, dark hair. Wearing a black T-Shirt and yellow blazer.
MARIE RINGLER
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.
NASSIR KUTURAMU
Co-Creation Consultant & Venture Manager in Ashoka East Africa
portrait of Ashoka Fellow Andraes Heinecke, wearing a dark-grey t-shirt
ANDREAS HEINECKE
Ashoka Fellow, CEO and Founder of Dialogue Social Enterprise

OUR NETWORK IN THREE PILLARS

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.

7 MODULES – 7 TRANSFORMATIONAL WEEKENDS

1
SOCIAL ENTRPRENEURSHIP
& INNOVATION

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

2
IMPACT & SOCIAL
BUSINESS MODELING

Applying an impact model and impact- oriented business plan for strategy & organizational development.

3
FUNDING & SCALING
SOCIAL INNOVATION

Developing ways to scale and maximize social impact; under- standing financing approaches to increase readiness and to attract funding and financing.

4
NEW LEADERSHIP

Understanding leadership styles that leverage the changemaker potential of employees within private companies, public institutions and welfare organizations.

5
System change

Mobilizing stakeholders, facilitating impact-oriented collaboration and ‚decision making‘, and enabling systemchange.

6
PARTNERSHIPS
& CO-CREATION

Managing organizations; scouting for, attracting, recruiting, managing and rewarding the best talents.

7
THE ART OF STORY-TELLING
& MARKETING

Designing, crafting and communicating success stories, leveraging
the power of mass media, and utilizing social media channels.

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.

ACT: SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN PRACTICE

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.

JOIN: GETTING READY TO SET SAIL ON YOUR JOURNEY ⛵

TARGET GROUP / YOUR PROFILE

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

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS

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
implementation
• 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

DURATION

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

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

Tailored fieldwork with a social entrepreneur

LOCATION

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

COSTS

EUR 10,000 excl. VAT. Stipends are available for leaders from the foundation-, corporate- and NGO-sector.

APPLICATION

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

CEE Europe
East Africa
Mediterranean Europe

Apply now!

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

CENTRAL-EASTERN EUROPE
MEDITERRANEAN
EAST AFRICA

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

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