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Societal challenges require solutions from all actors, be the government or individual communities. Social innovation originates from these community actors, or social entrepreneurs, who are directly involved and have a local understanding of these challenges.

— Fadi Ghandour, Executive Chairman, Wamda Capital, Schwab awardee 2019.

Book launch: The Systems Work of Social Change

As the world battles to shake off COVID-19, it appears increasingly stuck. But a new book The Systems Work of Social Change, authored by François Bonnici, Director of the Schwab Foundation and Cynthia Rayner, shows us that the way forward may literally be right under our noses – it just happens to be invisible to most people. This book draws on stories of committed social changemakers to uncover a set of principles and practices for social change that dramatically depart from the industrial approach.


Rather than delivering solutions or being lured by grander visions of ‘systems change’, these principles and practices focus on the process of change itself. Simple yet profound, these stories distil a timely set of lessons for leaders, scholars, and policymakers on how connection, context, and power sit at the heart of the change process, ensuring broader agency for people and communities while building social systems that are responsive in a rapidly-changing world.


Join us for the book launch of The System Work of Social Change on 1 September 2021 at 16 CEST, co-organised with Catalyst 2030.

Schwab Foundation Social Innovators at The Davos Agenda

The Davos Agenda Week was a pioneering mobilization of global leaders and stakeholders to come together, rebuild trust, and make crucial decisions to shape the principles, policies and partnerships needed in this challenging new context. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that no institution or individual alone can address the economic, environmental, social and technological challenges of our complex, interdependent world. Among the distinguished participants, the Schwab Foundation was proud to have a delegation of eighteen Schwab Foundation social innovators who engaged and joined #DavosAgenda. Our community represented and brought the much-needed voices of the most marginalized to the forefront of the agenda.

Learn more about the #SocEnts Impact here.

Breakthrough Collaboration

In April 2020, the Schwab Foundation and World Economic Forum co-initiated the launch of the COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs. The Alliance is an unprecedented collaboration between more than 80 global leaders in social entrepreneurship, serving over 90,000 social entrepreneurs and touching the lives of 1.9 billion people cumulatively. Together, Alliance members from all sectors call on their colleagues to stand by social entrepreneurs as vital first responders to the crisis and as pioneers of an inclusive, sustainable society.

In September 2020, members of the Alliance called on their peers to stand by social entrepreneurs during the pandemic. It published an Action Agenda outlining five concrete steps that intermediaries, corporations, investors, government institutions, and funders could take.

At The Davos Agenda in January 2021, the Alliance is taking this agenda forward to action, announcing its 2021 Roadmap. Comprising over 20 ambitious, collaborative action projects, each of which is led by and delivered by members of the Alliance, the Roadmap seeks to ramp up support for social entrepreneurs by adding fuel and efficiency to on-the-ground operations of its members.

See more information here.

Unusual Pioneers

Unusual Pioneers is a joint programme by Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, Yunus Social Business, Porticus, INSEAD and HEC to foster a culture of social intrapreneurship.

The programme was launched ahead of The Davos Agenda 2021 to showcase how social entrepreneurship can help to rebuild the economy for an authentic purpose after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The programme connects companies and intrapreneurs with world-class organizations in innovation, impact and technology. It also helps intrapreneurs and their companies to increase the visibility and impact of social intrapreneurship initiatives.

The programme is focused on bringing projects to implementation and scale. Through our partners, social entrepreneurs and on-the-ground expertise, we help intrapreneurs to cut corners and benefit from years of social business experience.

Keen to get involved? Find more here.

Report Launch: New Allies

As keen collaborators with strong networks and community support, systems social entrepreneurs are powerful guides and allies for governments in their fight against the urgent systemic issues of our time – in particular when it comes to addressing the social inequalities that have been amplified by the COVID 19 pandemic.

This important report unpacks ways that governments can accelerate change and achieve the SDGs by collaborating with systems social entrepreneurs on institutionalizing successful social innovations.

This report was produced by in partnership with Ashoka, Catalyst 2030, Echoing Green, McKinsey & Company, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and the Skoll Foundation.

Read the report here.

Bold Action for Women in Social Entrepreneurship

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in coordination with Catalyst 2020 and Ashoka Women's Initiative for Social Entrepreneurship launched the Bold Action for Women in Social Entrepreneurship ahead of The World Economic Forum Davos Agenda 2021.

This is a collective effort to address the different dimensions of inequity experienced uniquely by female social entrepreneurs and brings together leading voices in the social innovation ecosystem and eventually others who rally behind female social entrepreneurs.

See more information here.

Announcing the Social Innovators of the Year 2020

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship today announced 23 awardees for social innovation in 2020 on 22 September 2020.

From building hospitals in rural India, empowering Black-communities in Brazil, providing financial resources to last-mile communities in Ghana, harnessing 4IR technology to promote equity in education in South Africa, raising over 100 million USD for lower-income families in the USA, to breaking the glass ceiling in the public sector in Spain, the 2020 Social Innovators of the Year includes a list of outstanding founders and chief executive officers, multinational and regional business leaders, government leaders and recognized experts.

This ecosystem of change-makers is being recognised for driving significant social and environmental impact in the service of vulnerable and excluded communities and has been well placed to respond to the needs of those disproportionately affected by the COVID pandemic.

See more information here.

The COVID pandemic is unlike any other crisis the world has faced in recent times, causing a ripple effect of unimaginable disruptions in all facets of life. These extraordinary times have placed extreme pressures and demands on our social innovator community to navigate uncharted territory. In order to respond to the needs, the Schwab Foundation is organizing fortnightly virtual sessions: Navigating Complexities.

The fortnightly Navigating Complexities series runs from June - September 2020 leading up to the Sustainable Development Impact Summit. Through the Navigating Complexities, we have aimed to redesign our Annual Summit to create the peer exchange that you value most at a time when you need it the most.

See more information here.

Social Innovators' COVID-19 Response

Social innovators, disruptors in the service of others in situations where traditional actors or the market have failed, are needed more than ever in the current COVID-19 pandemic. This is especially true as the health and economic impacts hit the excluded, vulnerable and those in the informal economy the hardest, those who social innovators dedicate their lives to serve.

Check out more responses from our community here.

Embracing complexity – Towards a shared understanding of funding systems change: Report

How can systems change across the world be financed more effectively? How can change be better supported for the benefit of society? The report “Embracing complexity - Towards a shared understanding of funding systems change” provides donors and investors, as well as charitable initiatives and organizations, with answers to these questions. A clearly defined vision, the active search for systemic initiatives to fund, targeted cooperation with other funders and a long-term perspective for funding partnerships - these are just a few aspects that have proven to be decisive for the successful funding of systems change. The report is the result of a cooperation between Schwab Foundation, Ashoka, McKinsey & Company, Catalyst 2030, Co-Impact, Echoing Green, Skoll, and SystemIQ

Download the report here.

Social Innovators at the Annual Meeting

The World Economic Forum’s 50th anniversary provided an opportunity to converge around a set of ethical principles to guide companies in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution through stakeholder capitalism. Twenty-eight social innovators from around the world attended #wef20 as part of the Schwab Foundation delegation. Complementing the Annual Meeting's theme, the social innovator community seized all opportunities to showcase social entrepreneurship and innovation is not only a key avenue to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals as we enter the decade to deliver on the SDGs, but also an expression of stakeholder capitalism in action.

Check out our Davos Highlights Report here.

Social Innovators at the Schwab Foundation Summit

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship held its Annual Summit on 21-22 September 2019 in the World Economic Forum's New York offices. This was a special moment for the community as it officially embarked on a journey into its third decade, welcoming a more comprehensive ecosystem with three new award categories. Over 90 members from around the world participated, representing expert Social Entrepreneurs, Corporate Social Intrapreneurs, Public Social Intrapreneurs and Thought Leaders.

Check out our Highlights Report here.