Powering Economic Opportunity: Create a World that Works

Powering Economic Opportunity

Create a World that Works

Competition Information

Competition News

eBay Foundation and Ashoka Changemakers launched this online competition to find the world’s most innovative market-based solutions that create economic opportunity and generate employment for disadvantaged populations.

The Changemakers expert panel of judges has selected the five winners that best demonstrate innovation, impact and potential to sustain and scale-up their efforts.

Congratulations to all the winners!

You may continue to read and comment on all entries. As always, we welcome your feedback.


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Welcome Letter

Dear Changemakers Community,

In our increasingly interdependent world, a vibrant global workforce has never been more essential, or more possible.

With billions in vulnerable employment—or without work at all—there is an urgent need to create economic opportunity and generate employment to engage the untapped potential of citizens around the world.

We need creative, collaborative approaches and technologies that advance broad-reaching skills and job development strategies; disseminate and leverage employment information; and open access to new markets and jobs, to ensure today’s workers are prepared to meet the rapidly changing needs of the world’s economy.

Unexpected and creative innovations are emerging across all geographies, from every corner of the world. Changemakers are rising to the challenge of building lasting architectures for employment, and working together to create tomorrow’s job markets today.

Changemakers and eBay Foundation invite you to participate in our international competition: Powering Economic Opportunity: Create a World that Works.

This competition seeks market-based innovations that are developing employment opportunities for vulnerable populations. The best entries will be those that have demonstrated impact, are prepared to scale-up, and have sought partners to expand their reach. The top five solutions will each win US $50,000. Three entries submitted by 5PM EDT, May 11, 2011 will be eligible to each win US $1,000. Additionally, selected entries will have the opportunity to establish a longer term partnership with eBay Foundation.

Join us in collaborating to power the marketplaces of the future by overcoming barriers to create economic opportunity and generate employment. Winning solutions may include those that create:

  • Increased access to restricted job markets;
  • Disruptive innovations in job creation or skills building;
  • Connections between local entrepreneurs and global markets;
  • Systems to promote awareness of job opportunities.

Have you launched an organization that expanded the qualifications of underserved citizens, or used technology or the Internet to connect job seekers to eager employers, or spearheaded a new way of helping businesses and entrepreneurs make the most of untapped talents among their labor force? Do you know someone who has?

Make a difference! Submit your solutions or nominate a project today!

Lauren Moore
eBay Foundation

Guidelines, Criteria and Prizes

Who should enter:

If you are a changemaker who is using market-based innovations to develop long-term employment opportunities for vulnerable populations—we want to hear from you. We are seeking individuals, organizations, or collaborations that are expanding the qualifications of disadvantaged citizens, using technology or the Internet to connect job seekers to eager employers, or spearheading a new way of helping businesses and entrepreneurs make the most of untapped talents among their labor force. The competition is open to solutions around the world. We can only accept your entry in English, Spanish, Portuguese or French.

Why you should enter:

  • Connect to a global online community that supports the impact you are making on the ground.
  • Gain visibility with our community and our competition partner, eBay Foundation.
  • A chance to win!

What you can win:

  • One of five US $50,000 cash prizes in unrestricted funding to boost your project.
  • One of three US $1,000 cash prizes (if you enter before May 11, 2011).

How to enter:

Read all the fine print below to learn more about how you can win.

Competition Guidelines

The competition is open to all types of individuals, organizations, and collaborations from all countries. We consider all entries that:

  • Reflect the theme of the competition: Powering Economic Opportunity: Create a World that Works.
  • Identify market-based innovations that develop sustainable
    employment opportunities for underserved populations.
  • Indicate growth beyond the conceptual stage and have demonstrated impact and sustainability. While we support new ideas at every stage and encourage their entry, the judges are better able to evaluate programs that are beyond the conceptual stage and have demonstrated a proof of impact.
  • Are submitted in English, Spanish, French, or Portuguese.

Please complete the entry form in its entirety and submit by June 15, 2011.

Assessment Criteria

Winners of the Powering Economic Opportunity: Create a World that Works competition will be those that best meet the following criteria:

Innovation: This is the knock-out test; if the work is not innovative the judges will not give it a high ranking. The entrant must describe a systemic or disruptive innovation with the potential to create economic opportunity and generate employment. The best entries will be those that demonstrate a substantial difference from other initiatives in the field and have the possibility for large-scale replication.

Social Impact: It is important that the competition entry provides a system-changing solution for the issue it addresses. Some entries will have proven successes at the local level, while others may have already engaged millions of people across multiple regions. Innovative ideas must maximize the opportunity for collaboration in creating economic opportunity and have demonstrated impact, as well as the potential for scale and replication.

Sustainability: The proposals must have a clear “road map” for reaching long-term goals and securing financial backing—entries should describe not only how they currently finance their work, but also how they plan to finance in the future. They should also have a realistic time frame for implementation. Proposals should highlight the support they have received from both the public and private sectors.

Competition Deadlines, Procedures, and Rules

Online competition submissions are accepted until June 15, 2011. At any time before this deadline, competition participants are encouraged to revise their entries based on questions and insights that they receive in the Changemakers discussion. Participation in the discussion enhances an entrant’s prospects in the competition and provides the community and the judges with an opportunity to understand the entrant’s project more completely.

There are five main phases in the competition:

  • Entry Stage, March 30 – June 15, 2011: Entries can be submitted until 5PM EDT on June 15, 2011, and throughout this stage anyone can participate in an online review discussion with the entrants.
    • Early Entry Deadline, May 11, 2011: Entries received by 5PM EDT on May 11, 2011 are eligible for the Early Entry prize.
    • Entry Deadline: June 15, 2011, 5PM EDT
  • Online Review and Semi-Finalist Selection, June 16 – July 19, 2011: Online review and discussion continues. Simultaneously, a team of Ashoka staff and shortlisters nominate the 15 best and most innovative entries as semi-finalists.
  • Voting and Finalist Selection, July 20 – August 10, 2011: The Changemakers community votes online to select 10 finalists from the field of semi-finalists.
  • Winners Selection: Finalist entries undergo a rigorous review by a panel of expert international judges. Five (5) finalists will be selected as winners from the entire challenge.
  • Winners Announced, September 14, 2011: The Changemakers competition winners—the finalist individuals, organizations, or partnerships selected by the judges—will each receive a cash prize of US $50,000.

Prizes: Early Entry Prize, Competition Prizes

Early Entry Prize:

Early entries, received by May 11, 2011 will be eligible to win one of three cash prizes of US $1,000. Being an Early Entry Prize winner does not preclude you from winning the competition in any way, nor guarantee finalist status. All entries will be equally evaluated per the Changemakers criteria at the completion of the entry period.


Five winners, as selected by the judges to best exemplify the competition assessment criteria from the pool of finalists, will each receive a cash prize of US $50,000.

Winners will be announced September 14, 2011.

Participation in the competition provides the opportunity to receive feedback on your solution from fellow entrants, Changemakers staff, judges, expert commentators, and the Changemakers community. Showcasing your market-based solution and the challenges involved in creating social impact through community engagement advises potential investors about how best maximize the strategic impact of their future investments.

Disclaimer—Compliance with Legal Restrictions

Ashoka complies fully with all U.S. laws and regulations, including Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations, export control, and anti-money laundering laws. Any grants will be awarded subject to compliance with such laws. Ashoka will not make any grant if it finds that to do so would be unlawful. This may prohibit awards in certain countries and/or to certain individuals or entities. All recipients will comply with these laws to the extent they are applicable to such recipients. No recipient will take any action that would cause Ashoka to violate any laws. Additionally, Ashoka will not make any grant to a company involved in the promotion of tobacco use.

Judges Panel

Bibek Debroy

Economist and Professor, Centre for Policy Research

Gayle Lemmon

Author and Deputy Director, Council on Foreign Relations’ Women and Foreign Policy program

John Donahoe

President and CEO, eBay Inc.

Maureen Conway

Executive Director of the Economic Opportunities Program, The Aspen Institute

Nancy Lee

General Manager, Multilateral Investment Fund

Vivianne Naigeborin

Strategic Advisor, Potencia Ventures

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