To get access to a network of social entrepreneurs scattered across the world, you should participate in social entrepreneurship contests. Contests play a role in motivating social entrepreneurs to perform and offer a lot more reward than just the winning prize.
This year, the Japan office of Ashoka, a nonprofit organization that financially supports social entrepreneurs worldwide, held youth social entrepreneurship contest. Among the four social entrepreneurs who passed the competition’s interview screening part was Yoko Aoki, a high school student who earlier this year launched a photography service and cosmetic therapy for elderly women living in nursing homes.
Aoki said her motivation behind participating in the the competition was to meet other entrepreneurs — people she rarely meet in the course of her daily life. Like Aoki, many participants in Ashoka contest get connected with social entrepreneurs whom they share strong passions for sustainable social change.
Under the slogan “Everyone a Change maker,” social entrepreneurs selected via Ashoka contests receive annual stipends of up to ¥100,000 in financial support for their projects. For those who want to study at the College of the Atlantic in the United States, Ashoka offer scholarship support up to $10,000. In addition, they have access to a worldwide network of over 3,500 social entrepreneurs referred to as Ashoka Fellows in 93 countries.