Ashoka is a global support network of social entrepreneurs. Its main instrument is a fellowship programme whose basic idea is as follows: After a selection process based on five key criteria, selected Ashoka fellows receive a living stipend for an average of three years (1 to 3 years based on needs), allowing them to focus full-time on scaling up their operations and spreading their ideas43. Since its launch in 1980 in India, Ashoka has supported around 3,000 Ashoka Fellows in 70 countries. Operations in Eastern Europe started in 1995 and in Western Europe in 2003. Austria’s country office, founded in 2011, is also responsible for operations in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. There are four Austrian fellows at the moment44. The selection process is very rigorous: to select twelve Ashoka fellows across the five countries, 1,000 applications were received and 300 were screened. The worldwide ratio generally referred to is one Ashoka fellow found each year per 10 million inhabitants. Apart from the living stipend in itself, Ashoka fellows benefit from its worldwide network from former fellows, they become part of a community. In addition, Ashoka fellows are provided with pro-bono business support services, delivered by leading global consulting companies which are Ashoka partners (in the areas of management, communication, accounting, legal issues, etc.).
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