We are excited to share with you our Impact Report, covering our activities from September 2020 to August 2021. It was only our third year of operations!

The mission of the Ashoka Europe Fellowship Program has not changed since we started: we are building a co-learning and co-creation community to leverage Ashoka's local and global experience, resources, and networks in order to advance social entrepreneurship and changemaking for the good of all.

We connect Ashoka Fellows, their leadership teams, Ashoka Support Network (ASN) members, Ashoka partners, Ashoka Young Changemakers, Ashoka staff, change leaders, and key players in the media, business, and academic ecosystems to learn from one another and pursue systems change in co-creative ways.

We have three key pillars;


We create co-learning spaces where Ashoka’s community comes together to practice and share the most impactful and effective tools and ideas that support change leaders in their efforts to shift systems.


We work with key players across sectors to create an enabling environment for social entrepreneurship as a force for systems change. Together we create spaces to exchange knowledge, learn together, and collaborate on solutions that advance the field of social entrepreneurship.


We mobilize and connect Ashoka's community to co-create initiatives that address the world's most pressing challenges. We design meaningful engagement journeys for the community to align, connect, learn, and co-create solutions.

Taking part in the Ashoka Europe Fellowship Co-Learning Program was like opening a window to get some fresh air into our day-to-day operations. We see more clearly now. We know our next steps. My team and me are so grateful to Ashoka for having created this space of peer- and autoreflection. We are so much more effective.
Katarzyna Batko-Tołuć, Watch Dog Polska, Ashoka Fellow

Our Impact in a glimpse

The third year of the Ashoka Europe Fellowship Program was a big adventure. Due to the ongoing pandemic, we continued working fully online and offered all our activities online. Despite all odds, we doubled our impact from the previous year while keeping the quality of programming as high as ever. To assess the program, we implemented an activity-based evaluation process focusing on our co-learning activities, which earned a net promotor score of 94!

We are proud to present the key facts, figures, and take-aways from the 2020-2021 impact report.

This year, we:

  • Supported more than 500 social entrepreneurs and changemakers from 49 countries through co-learning modules;
  • Engaged approximately 2,000 social entrepreneurs and changemakers in building and advancing an ecosystem of support for social innovation through co-creating and co-facilitating 26 roundtables, multi-stakeholder initiatives, and working groups;
  • Co-enabled 3 collective impact initiatives to confront the COVID-19 crisis, biodiversity protection, and community health, in addition, we started to develop 3 new collective initiatives on democracy, gender and migration with the Hello Europe team;
  • Shared learnings and insights in the form of newsletters, blog posts, and knowledge products through our network of 21 Ashoka country offices and core community of over 3,000 social entrepreneurs and changemakers;
  • Reached 2,400 changemakers monthly through our newsletter and welcomed 3,100 unique visitors on our website per month, in addition to over 67,200 people reached with social media campaigns;
  • Collaborated with more than 100 organizations, experts, and Ashoka Fellows to build a program based on the needs of our community members through a participatory program development process that engaged both internal and external key stakeholders;
  • Received a very positive overall assessment by participants, 94% of whom would recommend the program to others;
  • Codified and shared insights through articles and knowledge products including 3 reports, 2 mappings, 2 upgraded online courses, and 1 toolkit;
  • Hosted 78 social entrepreneurs and changemakers from 23 countries outside of Europe;
  • Initiated the integration of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) into our work and initiated key first steps including the development of internal workshops and a DEI guidebook for facilitators;
  • Continued to catalyze the integration of Ashoka and its 21 country offices in Europe;
  • Engaged 19 staff members with a total of 7,3 FTE and an annual budget of 444,606 Euros anchored in 7 external funding partnerships, financial contributions by country offices, and earned income;
  • Developed a shared leadership model and organizational matrix that allows colleagues across countries, teams, and levels to step up and to unleash their leadership potential.

Cross Sector Collaboration and co-creation is the key

This year we coupled our evaluation with the 2021 Ashoka Global Fellows Survey which garnered responses from over 800 Ashoka Fellows and is conducted every three years. Significant insight can be drawn from the survey, which was published in cooperation with the Social Innovation Journal (see here). Based on the survey, our program co-leader Georg Schön contributed to the Journal with an article on the big shifts taking place in the field of social entrepreneurship and in our work supporting systems-changing social entrepreneurs (see the article here). Moreover, we saw brilliant results of the survey from the Fellow community in Europe specifically.

Here are some highlights:

  • 88% of Fellows in Europe who responded feel strongly connected to the Ashoka community
  • 81% received strategic guidance from Ashoka, 74% developed new partnerships through connections made within the community, 66% received mentorship, and 59% accessed wellbeing support.
  • 77% partnered with at least one other Fellow
  • 72% have seen their idea replicated by other groups or institutions since becoming an Ashoka Fellow
  • 93% indicated they have achieved systemic change in the area they work in; 64% achieved legislative change and 69% convinced governments to allocate additional funds to their social cause
  • 88% influence societal mindsets and cultural norms with their ideas

In a (post-)COVID world, everyone must be able to contribute. To address the massive challenges we face, social entrepreneurs and changemakers across sectors must drive systemic changes together. Co-learning and co-creation are more important than ever, and the Ashoka Europe Fellowship team is committed to building and supporting a community of changemakers.

Our impact along the 3 pillars of the program: What we have achieved?

Activities & Results: CO-LEARNING PILLAR

With our co-learning pillar, we are creating the space to capture, exchange, and develop the skills, methods, and mindsets to support system-changing social entrepreneurs and changemakers in Europe.

The knowledge we co-create and co-learn together in the program, which derives from the experience of leading practitioners in the field, is cutting edge and action-oriented. We help to standardize these learnings and translate them into accessible and replicable learning and engagement journeys for Ashoka Fellows and partners​. All our offers are custom-designed and evolving!

We supported 535 social innovators directly through our co-learning modules and journeys. We implemented 7 co-learning courses on 6 different themes (system change, replication and transfer, changemaker finance, government alliance, collaboration for systems change, and wellbeing) with 410 participations (and originally 484 registrations, i.e., a 15% drop out rate) from 49 countries. 125 changemakers participated in a range of learning journeys we delivered connected to international partnerships and programs, including the Visionary Program, the CEMEX-TEC Award, and the Scaling Social Innovation Program.

We reached a diverse, well-balanced audience including Ashoka Fellows and their co-leaders (43%); Ashoka Support Network (ASN) members, partners, and affiliated Changemakers (35%); and our own staff members (22%). We also inspired participation among social entrepreneurs and changemakers from other continents: 24% of program participants came from continents other than Europe.

81% of participants are planning follow-up activities in their organization after having taken part in our program (in comparison to 79% the previous year), especially to improve their impact strategy. Almost 60% of participants gained new opportunities for the future through the contacts they have made in the program. The program ​received a very positive overall assessment by participants: 94% would recommend the program to others (net promoters score)! We had a total of 116 respondents in our evaluation this year, which is twice the rate from the previous year.

I have already included some of the Wellbeing Lab issues in the workshops and consultations that I am now running for the leaders of rural associations. I am also preparing for a series of well-being workshops for people working in the field of social assistance.”

WELLBEING Module participant

Social entrepreneurs and changemakers supported through our modules from 49 countries.
Are working on improving their impact strategy after participating in the modules.
Would recommend the Program to other peers.

Activities & Results: ECOSYSTEM PILLAR

Social entrepreneurs and changemakers need a supportive ecosystem. We inspire collaborative initiatives with key ecosystem actors to address the burning needs and challenges of the social entrepreneurship and changemaking movements.

This year, we focused on five priority areas:

  1. Developing a new culture for funding systems-changing social innovations
  2. Building enabling environments to transfer systems-changing solutions across borders
  3. Supporting governments and social innovators to build effective partnerships for change
  4. Making support for social entrepreneurs more effective, impactful, and sustainable
  5. Addressing the underserved issue of transition and retirement in social entrepreneurship

On these issues, we have co-created and co-facilitated 26 roundtables, multi-stakeholder webinars, and working groups in Europe for an audience of over 2000 stakeholders.

Many new ideas and initiatives emerged from these encounters and collaborations.

Here are some highlights:

  • We co-created Catalyst 2030, co-hosted its working group on funding system change, co-initiated the Investors in Change Academy for funding system change, and enabled several national initiatives to fund systems-change(e.g. France, Switzerland and Italy).
  • Our project Respond-Rebuild-Reinvent, in cooperation with the OECD and 16 other partners, focused on how city administrations in nine cities support and collaborate with social enterprises and how they can replicate and adopt social innovations despite COVID.
  • In partnership with the European Commission, we conduct a study to develop policy recommendations for the promotion of cross-border activities for social economy organizations.
  • We co-created Ashoka´s flagship publication New Allies: How governments can unlock the potential of social entrepreneurs for the common good and co-hosted a range of international round tables to boost the issue in Europe and beyond.  
  • The Elders Council – a group which we helped to co-initiate – grew to be a global initiative engaging over 200 social innovators on co-learning, peer-to-peer support, and the positioning the issue of transition globally. The Elder’s Council has since been set up as an independent organization.
Roundtables co-created and co-facilited to advance an ecosystem of support for social innovation
Participants of regular working groups
Participants of events & webinars
Social innovators engaging & positioning the issue of transition globally


The Fellowship Europe Program enables Ashoka´s community to co-create pan-European initiatives that address the continent’s most pressing challenges. The program facilitates the development of new collaborations and collective impact initiatives.

We co-created and engaged in three collective impact initiatives:

Changemakers United is a collective effort to support social innovators at the forefront of the COVID-19 crisis. After its launch in April 2020, the initiative quickly expanded beyond Europe to Africa, Latin America, and South Asia, reaching more than 10,000 participants through online events and engaging 67 mentors and 231 pro-bono experts to support the work of Ashoka Fellows.​ A total of 105 social entrepreneurs from 34 countries were supported, reaching around 450 million people directly and indirectly with their solutions.​

The Bioregional Weaving Labs Collective is a collaborative initiative of 20 systems-changing organizations (16 Ashoka Fellows). Its mission is to accelerate and scale systemic, community-based solutions to conserve and restore biodiversity. The goal is to transform one million hectares of land and sea in Europe into healthy ecosystems, green economies, and thriving communities by establishing at least ten Bioregional Labs before 2025. Eight online workshops and one in-person retreat were implemented to co-create the initiative and a 5-year plan was subsequently publicly launched.

We started to explore the development of a collective impact initiative on health in partnership with the Making More Health Initiative in Europe, Latin America, and Africa. Seven Fellows from Europe working in the health sector started to co-create together to address health barriers in Europe. We implemented 6 facilitated online workshops in 2021 to analyse the health system, create shared intentions and goals, and co-create specific actions and solutions. Five social entrepreneurs developed a collective advocacy strategy to influence policymakers in Europe to implement policies that equip patients and communities to be active agents in their healthcare journeys.

We also began to develop a collective impact initiative on democracy. Based on the findings of Ashoka´s flagship report “Doing Democracy: How Social Entrepreneurs bridge divides, fight apathy and strengthen civic liberties,” we interviewed and engaged 16 Ashoka Fellows in Europe to develop a collaborative initiative focused on empowering community citizenship.

In this reporting period, we have also developed and co-created new partnerships and collective impact initiatives on issues such as gender and migration. More to come soon!

Creating and sharing knowledge is our responsibility

We strive to continuously share our experience supporting social entrepreneurs. By sharing our learnings and creating new knowledge, we hope to provide our colleagues and partners in the growing social entrepreneurship ecosystem with useful inspiration and practical insights for their work. We hope to spark a meaningful dialogue about how this movement can continue to improve and to help build new alliances that so we can innovate the ecosystem together.

Here are some of the most important knowledge initiatives we undertook this year:

  • A revamped version of the Systems Change online course, including a workbook, studio recordings, professionally designed videos in English, French, and Spanish, and a manual for replication.
  • One new online course on Multi-Stakeholder Collaborations for System Change
  • One new Wellbeing Toolkit

Two new flagship reports: New Allies. How Governments can unlock the potential of social entrepreneurs for the common good and Supporting System Changers

  • One new flagship report in progress, to be released summer 2022: Replicating System Changers

Reaching and mobilizing our community is a craft to be mastered

Through newsletters, blog posts, and knowledge products, we shared learnings and insights with our network of 39 country offices with Ashoka´s core community of more than 3,000 social entrepreneurs and changemakers across Europe (check out all our newsletters and blogs here and knowledge products here!). We have 3,100 monthly unique visitors on the website with an engagement rate of 40%. The Ashoka Europe Fellowship Program monthly newsletter has 2,400 subscribers (mostly social entrepreneurs, business leaders, and Ashoka partners) with an opening rate of 41-50%—not to mention the thousands of stakeholders we reach through country offices sharing our newsletter with their own distinct networks. We reached over 67.200 changemakers through posts on Ashoka´s global social media accounts with a combined 100,000 followers​.

Increasing the network effect of our community is a core concern

Through our activities, we are engaging thousands of changemakers in Europe to exchange knowledge, co-learn, and collaborate. It is a high priority to advance community management, self-organization, and network-building at Ashoka Europe to catalyse exchanges, collaborations, and co-creations between our core constituencies.

The Ashoka Changemaker Summit provided a special opportunity to embed the Fellowship Europe Program within the wider efforts of Ashoka Europe to mobilize its community into collective action. Fellowship Europe implemented a total of 14 sessions with 50-150 participants each.

We implemented a detailed feasibility study and implemented prototypes to assess the online platform WeChangers as community engagement and organizing tool, engaging 300 participants in the online platform and analyzing their user journey experience.

Building a community strategy for Ashoka Europe is one of our big challenges for the coming year!

Putting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the center of our work

Valuing diversity and creating a space where all are seen, respected, and included is central to our mission to build an Everyone a Changemaker world and create a powerful community of changemaking peers in Europe.

We acknowledge that we need to put diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts at the core of our work and treat it as a necessity for fulfilling our vision— a future where everyone is a changemaker. 

This year, we created the first Fellowship Europe DEI Strategic Plan with the goal to make Fellowship more inclusive and equitable for our diverse community of Fellows. We also developed the first DEI knowledge product: the DEI Guidebook for Facilitators of Online Educational Events—to be published soon. We also offered various spaces for educational reflections within the team and helped country offices across Europe to share best practices and key learnings. We were able to introduce important tools into our daily work—we started measuring diversity metrics in all our modules and put inclusion questions in evaluation surveys.

Visit the Ashoka DEI Initiative website for more information here.

Teams of Teams - We integrate and catalyse Ashoka’s work in Europe

The Ashoka Europe Fellowship Program ​acts as a catalyst for the integration of 21 European country offices and their local communities. To achieve this, the program:

  • Acted as a catalyst for the European integration of many country offices, not only from Europe;
  • Involved Ashoka teams, country offices, and Fellows annually in program development while remaining agile and responding to ad-hoc community needs;
  • Built a new European program infrastructure for community management and communications;
  • Standardized internal learnings into accessible and replicable learning and engagement journeys for Ashoka Fellows and partners;
  • Is led by Ashoka staff based in and integrated across country offices in Europe;
  • Supported Fellowship integration across continents and globally, collaborating with our colleagues from Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the U.S. to connect our Fellows;
  • Implemented projects and procedures that we're replicated, localized, and diffused across the globe!

We operate in a LEAN and EFFECTIVE way as a matrix organization!

In 2020-2021, 19 Ashoka staff members based in country offices across Europe were part of the Ashoka Europe Fellowship Program team. These staff members spend between 20-100% of their time on the program with a total FTE (full-time equivalent of a staff member) approx. 7.3 compared to 4.6 the previous year. The Europe Fellowship Program ​is operationally anchored in Ashoka UK´s legal entity​, which is Ashoka Europe´s regional hub.

From September 2020 to August 2021, our total budget was 444,606 Euros, up from 351,711,73 Euros the previous year. The program is collectively funded through the contributions of Ashoka country offices, core partnerships with Steelcase and Porticus, and special initiatives funded by corporate partners and foundations including MAVA Foundation, The Human Safety Net Foundation, Zalando, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Nestlé. Some of our offerings also use a fee-for-participation model​ (earned income). Any surplus is used as co-funding the following year.

We developed an operational system to engage, connect, and mobilize staff, community members, and partners effectively and efficiently. We have developed a shared leadership model and organizational matrix that allows colleagues across countries, teams, and levels to step up and unleash their leadership potential:

  • A co-leadership team (Giulia Sergi, Michela Fenech, Florian Rutsch, Georg Schön) aligns people, resources, and strategy;
  • The core team driving implementation—in total, 19 colleagues across Europe have been on the payroll of the program—is connected to an extended team of internal (16 extended team members of other Ashoka programs and 18 local Fellowship Representatives) and external collaborators (+100!);
  • The Europe Forum—Ashoka Europe´s key governance instrument composed of all country directors—provides accountability. Teams from across the organization are the knowledge and resource base to build partnerships that drive action;
  • Learnings, feedback, and results improve organizational infrastructure.

The gamechanger: impactful partnerships for everything we do

We thank our two core partners, Steelcase and Porticus, for their invaluable contributions, trust, and spirit of co-creation which drive our partnerships.

This year, we had five additional funding partners co-funding special initiatives within the Fellowship Europe Program—thank you to MAVA Foundation, The Human Safety Net Foundation, Zalando, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Nestlé for the great collaborative opportunities they enabled.

A BIG shout out goes to the 100+ organizations, experts, and Ashoka Fellows that co-created the program with us in one way or another. You all know who you are; thank you so much! This shows that our program is a real community effort and that it´s the program of ALL of US.

Key Learnings and Challenges = an invitation to collaborate with us on these critical issues!

1. Impact Evaluation: We need to further develop our impact evaluation framework and process for our ecosystem and collective impact work. We will also continue to inquire and explore how to measure mid-term impact on our target groups.

2. Communications: The more the program grows, interconnects, and mobilizes our community, the more important communication becomes. It´s important to share what happens in our community and to create wider and easier access to the program and its resources. There is a lot to learn, and strategic communication will be a priority moving forward.

3. Team: It´s all about people! Core team members stayed within the team, even increased their time spent on the program and took on additional leadership roles. We have developed a shared leadership model that is attractive for new, highly entrepreneurial colleagues to join the team. Staff turnover remains a challenge due to sabbaticals and maternity and paternity leave, especially in senior positions.

4. Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DEI): We successfully anchored DEI within the program, but the journey has only just begun. There is so much to learn and improve, and we are highly motivated to set an example with our work.

5. Knowledge Products: some knowledge products were delayed due to the complexity of the issues at hand and the large number of internal teams we engaged in the process; it took longer than anticipated to ensure the uptake and capture of as many insights as possible from the global Ashoka network. We also need to improve the planning of and budgeting for knowledge products.

6. Online community building: We prototyped an online platform and developed a feasibility study to assess its success. Operating an online platform is a resource-intensive endeavor and requires an integrated community strategy across teams and units. This is a priority for the coming year.

7. Community Co-Leadership: We successfully partnered with over 100 organizations, experts, and Ashoka Fellows to co-create the program. Improving network leadership and increasing the potential of community co-leadership in the program will be a priority moving forward.

8. Cost-effectiveness and advantages of digitalizing our offers: We transformed the program to take place entirely online and are exploring further opportunities to deepen and improve digitalization.

9. Scaling & Replication of the program: We have seen certain elements, know-how, and modules of our program replicated across country offices both in Europe and on other continents. To move from linear to indirect and exponential scaling, we need to foster the replicability of program modules and advance our digital infrastructure.

10. Fundraising: We successfully fundraised, exceeding our internal targets. This enabled us to start the new year in a financially secure position. There are two reasons for our fundraising success: first, the program is built on a diversified business model (country office contributions, core program funding partners, and project-based funding partners); furthermore, the program serves as a magnet, tying together the fundraising and project delivery power of different Ashoka teams. For operational and legal issues, we were not able to expand our fee-for-participation model. We hope to resolve this issue in the future.

The COMMUNITY is core!

For us, community is essential. In fact, the community itself has become one of the outstanding gains of our program—this program is all about us sharing and collaborating!

We want to use these results to thank all of the Fellows, ASNs, partners, changemakers, and Ashoka staff members for contributing to the Ashoka Europe Fellowship Program and bringing the community to life across so many countries!

Our goal is to increase the network effect of our community. We are driven by the ambition to uplift its collaborative potential. Join us in making it happen!

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