Leveraging Business for Social Change: Building the Field of Social Business

Winners Announced! The three winners will each receive a prize of USD $5000.


Congratulations to the winners!

Enterprise-wide Digitization, India

Provision of Basic Services in the Base of the Pyramid: A Platform Promoting Inclusive MarketsArgentina

Soluciones Comunitarias, Guatemala


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

Know more about Social Business by reading Pre- Competition Discovery Framework, and the entries submitted that demonstrate how social business initiatives can thrive and scale-up their impact on quality of life.


Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to receive regular updates and to give us your feedback.

The three winners will each receive a prize of USD $5000.


Winner is Announced

August 17, 2010
  • Launch
    March 14, 2010
  • Entry Deadline
    June 9, 2010
  • Voting start
    July 27, 2010
  • Voting end
    August 11, 2010
  • Winner is Announced
    August 17, 2010

Welcome to Leveraging Business for Social Change: Building the Field of Social Business.

Artemisia and Ashoka’s Changemakers believe social business is a powerful engine for serving vulnerable and low-income communities by delivering the critical goods and services they need to improve their lives and lift themselves from poverty.

We invite you to help build the emerging field of social business by submitting social business models that most successfully harness smart business techniques and strategies to build financially viable social ventures. We are looking for initiatives that can scale up to improve millions of people´s quality of life.

By participating in the Leveraging Business for Social Change competition, you can help identify how the most successful social business models provide social benefits in emerging markets.

Social businesses are a new breed in every respect: they creatively apply market forces for social benefit, and they can offer more inclusive participation in ownership, management, and profit distribution. Social businesses are pioneering new forms of distribution, pricing for affordability and community participation all along the value chain.

Help us surface the key challenges and successes of new social business models. Join us to connect the resources, insights, and skills of social business entrepreneurs, investors, workers, consumers, business specialists, and other entrepreneurs.

The Leveraging Business for Social Change competition is open to all types of individuals and organizations (charitable organizations, private companies, or public entities) from all countries. We consider all entries that

  • reflect the theme of the competition Leveraging Business for Social Change: Building the Field of Social Business.
  • Indicate growth beyond the concept or research stage. 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 entire entry form and submit before June 9, 2010.

Assessment Criteria

The winners of Leveraging Business for Social Change will be those that best meet the following criteria:

Innovation: This is the knock-out test. The entrant must describe a systemic and/or transformational solution that most successfully demonstrates how to build the field of social business. The innovation will demonstrate a substantially different approach from other initiatives in the field with potential for replication. The solutions may include:

  • expanded distribution - such as innovations that reach audiences that have been underserved or not well understood
  • more thoughtful design - such as breakthroughs that reduce costs and allow local sourcing
  • outreach and education - that may shift a culture toward embracing solutions
  • creative adaptation - applying a solution in a new context may produce surprising results

The ideas and solutions generated through this challenge must spark profound transformation in the way social businesses achieve financial viability and scale up the reach and impact of social business initiatives.

Social Impact: It is important that the innovation provides a system-changing solution that builds the field of social business. Some innovations will have proven success at a small level, while others will have potential to grow, engaging millions of people. We look for breadth and depth, numbers and stories that make a substantive difference in the lives of people at the base of the pyramid.

Sustainability: For an innovation to be truly effective it must have a long-term plan for securing financial support and for increasing community impact. Entrants should describe not only how they are currently financing their work, but also how they plan to finance their work in the future. The most successful entrants describe a long-term vision with regional and or global targets and the financial model to support them. Entrants should also demonstrate that they have strong partnerships and support networks that help achieve the venture’s mission.

Challenge Deadlines, Procedures, and Rules

Online submissions are accepted until June 9, 2010 at 5PM US EST. At any time before this deadline, participants are encouraged to revise their entries based on questions and insights that they receive through the Changemakers’ collaborative process. Participation in the discussion enhances an entrant’s prospects and provides the community and the judges an opportunity to understand the entrant’s project more completely. Participants are reminded to include all revisions in the entry form. Revisions made in the comment field are less likely to be viewed by the judges.

There are four main phases in the challenge:

Entry Stage, March 15 – June 9, 2010: Entries can be submitted until 5PM US EST on June 9, 2010, and throughout this stage anyone can participate in online discussion with the entrants. Early entries – received by April 28, 2010 – will be eligible for additional prizes.The 2 winners of the early entry prize will receive a digital camera each one.

Online Review and Judging, June 10 – July 27, 2010:Online review and discussion continues. Simultaneously, a panel of expert judges and a team of Ashoka staff select 10-15 finalists.

Voting, July 28 – August 11, 2010: The Changemakers community votes online to select the three award-winners from the slate of finalists.

Winners Announced, August 18, 2010:The Leveraging Business for Social Change winners—the three finalists that receive the most votes—will each receive a cash prize of USD $5000.

Participation in the challenge provides the opportunity to receive feedback from fellow entrants, Changemakers staff, judges, and the Changemakers community. Showcasing initiatives and demonstrating social impact advise potential investors about how best to maximize the strategic impact of their 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. All 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.


Total value:
15 000
The three winners will each receive a prize of USD $5000.