Meet the Three Early Entry Winners of the Powering Economic Opportunity Competition

Meet the Three Early Entry Winners of the Powering Economic Opportunity Competition

John Converse Townsend's picture

Great news! Ashoka Changemakers® has identified three Early Entry Prize winners in the Powering Economic Opportunity: Create a World that Works competition.

The Changemakers® screening team spent many hours poring over a record 164 solutions – entered by the May 11 early entry deadline – before coming to a decision. Entries came in from 36 countries around the world; Africa, Latin America, and Asia are strongly represented, providing more than three-fourths of the submissions so far.

“We are incredibly excited by the record number of innovations that are surfacing from around the world,” said Gaston Wright, Director of Community for Ashoka Changemakers. “From Cuba, to Uganda, to China, the Changemakers open-source model is providing a platform for innovators to collaborate on high-impact solutions that generate economic opportunity for disadvantaged populations.”

Without further ado, your three Early Entry Prize winners:

Solar Sister - Empowering Women With Economic Opportunity

Katherine Lucey’s social enterprise, Solar Sister, is tackling poverty by investing in women. Solar Sister creates solar entrepreneurs, empowering women through employment and economic opportunity. They are leading a new energy revolution, powered by the influence of women's social networks and the open marketplace. The model provides a system that opens access to clean energy technology, strengthening both the supply chain and rural networks. With strong partnerships, Solar Sister is addressing not only environmental concerns, but employment needs at the same time.

Creating an industry of self-employed online language teachers from developing countries

Clay Cooper’s innovation, Speak Shop, is creating a new industry of web-based teachers. A unique online marketplace that connects teachers and students via videoconferencing, Speak Shop is breaking open a new model for self-employment and allowing individuals to set their own hours and their own rates. Instructors are transforming themselves from seasonal workers into successful small business owners. By leveraging technology for good, Speak Shop is creating opportunities to realize personal, educational, and career goals.

Adaptação às Mudanças Climáticas para Convivência com o Semiárido (Climate Change Adaptation for Life in Semiarid Environments)

Jose Dias’ nonprofit, Center for Popular and Social Education (CEPFS), is focused on the sustainable development of rural communities in northeast Brazil. CEPFS supports farmers in the semi-arid region of Paraiba by developing microcredit and enterprise solutions for improved resource management. By developing farmers’ leadership skills, CEPFS is not only improving livelihoods, but improving the use of natural resources. And by leveraging technology, CEPFS is creating a proven, scalable model to support rural communities in their own development.


Did you enter the Powering Economic Opportunity competition, but weren’t selected as an Early Entry Prize winner? That’s okay—you’re still very much in the running for one of five US $50,000 prizes. Take advantage of our collaborative online community to tweak, edit, and revise your entry until the 5PM EDT deadline on June 15, 2011!