Ashoka: Innovators for the Public (North America Program)

By Jung Choi, William Meehan III
2001 | Case No. SM64

Synopsis and situational context. (Do not reveal the solution of the case). Ashoka is a professional global organization that identifies and invests in individuals who have ideas for far-reaching social change by electing them to a fellowship of social entrepreneurs. As of 1997, Ashoka focused solely on locating and supporting social entrepreneurs in developing countries. But the organization’s founder thought that the mission and power of the Ashoka fellowship would come with a truly global society of entrepreneurs—including a northern, developed-country component. This case provides the setting for the issues and decisions facing senior management in 1997–1998 regarding a North American initiative. Key issues included (1) adapting its program design to a different U.S./Canadian market, (2) raising funds that might otherwise go towards international programs, (3) management challenges, including recruiting talented senior managers, establishing processes for expansion, global fellowship networks, and self-evaluation, and building a sustainable, long-term funding base.

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