Frequently Asked Questions About the Ashoka Fellowship
1) What are the selection criteria for the Fellowship?
To read about the selection criteria for the Ashoka Fellowship, click here.
2) What is the selection process for the Fellowship?
To read about the selection process for the Fellowship, click here.
3) When can one apply/nominate for the Fellowship?
Ashoka accepts nominations or applications for the Fellowship all round the year. To apply/nominate for the Fellowship, click here.
4) Is it necessary for a candidate to have set up an organization or enterprise?
Setting up an organization or enterprise reflects the candidate’s commitment to the idea and his/her entrepreneurial qualities. While it significantly contributes to building the candidate’s case, it is not a prerequisite for Ashoka that a candidate should have set up an organization. There have been instances of Fellows who took leadership position in an existing organization and gave it a completely new direction. While most Ashoka Fellows have set up organizations, the question is considered on a case-to-case basis.
5) Does Ashoka support candidates who have created both grant driven and revenue generating organizations?
Yes. Ashoka does not determine the eligibility of a candidate based on the structure of their enterprise. Ashoka Fellows may have created a grant-based model or a revenue-generating model as a part of their sustainability plan. However, in case of ‘for-profit’ enterprises, Ashoka requires that social transformation must be its primary purpose rather than financial gain. Ashoka asks all its Fellows (not investors) to reinvest any surplus, excluding a reasonable salary, into the enterprise or related project or into other socially beneficial aims.
6) Is Ashoka an incubator for emerging social entrepreneurs?
No, Ashoka does not provide any handholding support or act as an incubator for emerging social entrepreneurs. Ashoka looks for social entrepreneurs who have tested their ideas and are poised to move to a new level of social impact.
7) Can a candidate who is devoting only part of their time be elected as an Ashoka Fellow?
No. The stipend is provided to the Fellow to allow him/her to commit his/her full time to the launch of their vision. For example, Ashoka will not elect someone who is a university professor, a public school teacher or a businessman unless they cease work on these other activities with the intent of doing so permanently.
8) Does Ashoka focus on specific sectors?
No, Ashoka is a sector agnostic organization. We elect Fellows working on a wide range of social issues, from human rights, governance, health, agriculture, climate change and so on.
9) Can candidates who are still in the concept or idea stage apply for the Fellowship?
In most cases, candidates who enter the Ashoka selection process are beyond the idea stage. To see the career path of Social Entrepreneur, click here. Their work on the ground will reflect proof of concept or more. However, in exceptional cases, Ashoka has elected candidates at the idea stage taking into consideration the experience, track record and trajectory of the candidate.
10) Can co-founders to an organization jointly apply for the Fellowship?
Yes. However, Ashoka will evaluate each of them separately. Each candidate will have to satisfy the selection criteria independently.
11) Are there any age, gender, language or education qualifications to apply for the fellowship?
No, except for the five selection criteria, the candidate does not have to satisfy any age, gender, language or educational criteria to be elected as a Fellow.
12) Does Ashoka have any other terms or conditions for support?
Detailed below are Ashoka’s other terms and conditions for support:
• Ashoka is not a grant-making foundation. We do not provide loans or grants to organizations, support research or special projects, staff positions or scholarships.
• Ashoka does not support individuals who intend to work in only one location (in one school or one rural health clinic).
• Neither Fellows nor their organizations can profess or support prejudice against any person or organization on the basis of national origin, race, sex, sexual-orientation, religion, age, economic or social status.
• Neither Fellows nor their organizations can advocate or promote any act of violence.
• Neither Fellows nor their organizations can represent, or promote any political party.
• Fellows work cannot be for the purpose of advocating a particular political or religious system.
13) How does the Ashoka Fellowship benefit the candidate?
The Ashoka Fellowship is a dynamic global community of leading social entrepreneurs who deliver high-impact solutions to society’s most pressing problems. The rapidly growing Fellowship network allows Fellows to leverage their ideas, collaborate, and enhance their innovations, achieving far more together than individually. Ashoka accelerates Fellows’ progress as an individual, a leader of an organization, a participant in collaborative initiatives, and as a member of a global community of peers.