Ashoka and the Lemelson Foundation believe that invention and social entrepreneurship can align in powerful ways to improve the world and enable people to be changemakers and problem-solvers.
Our partnership, which began in 2006, aims to find, support, and celebrate social innovators whose technologies offer fresh, effective approaches to advancing social change. We are building a cohort of Fellows who fit one or more of these groups:
- Innovators who invent or adapt a technology for use as a social change tool
- Innovators who inspire, teach, and grow new problem-solvers
- Innovators who develop new economic models and marketing strategies for disseminating technologies and socially useful products to overlooked customers
- Innovators who create an enabling environment for invention through field-level reforms
Our primary aim is to help members of the growing cohort succeed in their work, develop useful and supportive peer-to-peer relationships, and attract recognition and resources that will allow them to reach more people.
We also want to bring to bear this cohort’s experience on such challenges as: how to connect the right essential products with people who need them but are disregarded by traditional commercial channels; how to develop the right financing opportunities to allow low-income and poor customers to purchase technologies and essential products; how to sharply cut the cost of new technologies; how to pair social entrepreneurs with R&D specialist teams to invent, refine, and test products that benefit poor communities.
If you know a social entrepreneur who is pursuing a systems-changing idea that fits the Ashoka-Lemelson partnership, please nominate a Fellow.