The Arab region is a fertile land of social innovation. Throughout the region, Arabs have identified key challenges facing their societies and successfully developed innovative ideas and solutions to address them. The growing number of Arab innovators who have succeeded in implementing their models of change and have scaled them across their countries and sub-regions is sound proof that there is tremendous entrepreneurial potential among people of the Arab World.
Further many of these innovations are ready and can be applicable and relevant not only in their home region, but also beyond it and globally. The task of scaling social innovation and replicating it to other countries and regions is a sound, yet challenging idea. It occupies global agendas of leading organizations and top minds working on supporting social innovation.
Capitalizing on its 30 years of expertise in supporting social innovation and building infrastructure for social entrepreneurship globally, Ashoka has developed a Globalizer Program which is a proven methodology to scale social innovation. The Ashoka Globalizer program has been successfully implemented in Europe – its 6th edition just took place in Austria. Since 2010, there has been already 6 Globalizer Program editions in Vienna, Stockholm, Munich and Geneva. The program engaged over 70 leading social entrepreneurs and innovators ready to go global, more than 80 world class, internationally-scaled business and social entrepreneurs, over 100 business executives, top-notch global consultants and experts and leading media outlets, such as Forbes, The Sunday Times, The Huffington Post, The Guardian and other.
Nihar Kothari, Managing Editor of an Indian media group, brainstorms and strategizes to solve growth problems with Ashoka Fellow and Nobel Prize Laureate Jerry White, SurvivorCorps.
Based on the success of the Globalizer Program and taking advantage of Ashoka’s strong presence in the Arab region, in 2013 Ashoka aims at launching a regional program that will shed a light on Arab social innovators and support them in expanding their work beyond their current reach. Tailored to the Arab region initiative – Arab World Social Innovation Forum (AWSIF) will further establish social entrepreneurship in the Gulf, mainly, but not exclusively by introducing proven local solutions to the global scene, and bringing global successful innovations to the local arena.
AWSIF, which will be held in Autumn 2013 in Dubai, will link home-grown social innovators with leading business entrepreneurs, consultants, field experts and global counter-parts to design strategies and facilitate key connections for scaling. It will also bring high-caliber professionals and practitioners engaged in positive changemaking to further foster innovative thinking in addressing key challenges facing the Arab world.
This is first in a series of posts related to Arab World Social Innovation. Following posts will provide more information on the initiative and engagement opportunities that it creates.