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I have always maintained that social entrepreneurs are my role models.

Our story

Together with my husband, Klaus Schwab, the Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, I decided to create a separate foundation in 1998. For decades, the World Economic Forum had engaged the leaders of civil society organizations at the Annual Meeting in Davos and in all activities throughout the year. However, we observed the emergence of a new model for social change: a model that combines the mission, dedication, and compassion to serve the most vulnerable and marginalized populations of society with business principles and the best techniques from the private sector. That model, of course, is social entrepreneurship.

We saw the urgent need to identify, highlight and give a platform to these organizations, thus including social entrepreneurs in the meetings, discussion platforms and research projects of the World Economic Forum, as well as developing a community of social entrepreneurs. In addition, we wanted to develop a community of interaction and experience exchange and provide social entrepreneurship with higher visibility on the global scene.

For twenty years now, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship has supported the world’s leading social entrepreneurs in their efforts to create a more just, equitable, and sustainable world and I am proud that over 300 social entrepreneurs continue to be engaged in our activities.

I have always maintained that social entrepreneurs are my role models. They work in a challenging, even adverse environment. They persist, despite setbacks and frustrations. And collectively they have transformed the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world, providing education, opportunity, livelihoods, and dignity. It is one of the greatest joys of my life to accelerate and amplify the work of social entrepreneurs in the Schwab Foundation’s global community and to support social entrepreneurship in general.

Hilde Schwab, Chairperson and Co-Founder


Guiding the Foundation


Managing the Foundation

Hilde Schwab

Chairperson and Co-Founder, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship

Joined husband Klaus Schwab in 1970 as first collaborator in the organization known today as the World Economic Forum. In 1998, together with her husband, created and endowed the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship to provide social entrepreneurs with a platform where they can engage global business and political leaders to solve social and environmental challenges. The Schwab Foundation has today a global network of over 350 leading social innovators. Has been instrumental in infusing a cultural, social and environmental spirit into the Forum’s activities, including the co-creation of the “Crystal Awards” to honour outstanding artists from across the world. Serves on the advisory boards of a number of organizations, including International Bridges to Justice, Global Dignity and La Chartreuse de Neuville.

François Bonnici

Director of Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship & Head, Social Innovation; ExCom Member

Director of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and Head of Social Innovation at the World Economic Forum. Physician, professor and the former Founding Director of the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship, University of Cape Town, the first academic centre dedicated to social innovation in Africa. Experience spans over two decades of working across multiple systems, sectors and scales, deeply rooted in context and frontline work, while also working extensively with public sector, civil society, business and philanthropy in progressive and catalytic partnerships. Rhodes Scholar, South Africa (1999); Archbishop Tutu African Leadership Fellow (2013), Associate Fellow Saïd Business School, University of Oxford (2018), Visiting Faculty, Geneva Graduate Institute (2019).


Working with the Foundation

We work with a variety of partners to create value for our community members and ensure our continued growth.