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Selection criteria

Every year, the Schwab Foundation confers the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award on outstanding founders and CEOs of social enterprises. We define social enterprises as for-profit, hybrid, or non-profit organizations with an explicit mission of solving a social or environmental problem to benefit society in general, with an emphasis on low-income, marginalized, or vulnerable populations in particular.

The Schwab Foundation does not accept unsolicited applications for our Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award. We rely on a referral and nominations process from our global network of experts, partner institutions, and World Economic Forum community members.

The Schwab Foundation conducts thorough due diligence on nominated candidates against five broad criteria:

Market-based: leverages market forces, strategic partnerships, and business practices wherever possible, e.g. charges fees for products or services or for some subset of them.

Tech-enabled: Uses technology to create, communicate, deliver, or monitor the adoption of its products or services.

Demonstrated Impact: beyond proof of concept; has a monitoring and evaluation system in place; can provide compelling impact metrics.

Potential to scale: has the potential to be successfully expanded nationally or internationally, either by branch expansion or via replication partners.

Candidate as an Ambassador: able to interact on a peer to-peer level with top business and political leaders and willing to contribute time and expertise to building the global community.

We also look for organizations aligned with the World Economic Forum System Initiatives.