Ashoka Innovators has been encouraging role models in development all over the world. Ashoka Innovators, which has been encouraging role models in development all over the world, has found its newest role model in Infosys Chairman N R Narayana Murthy.
So impressed is the global non-profit organisation with the software guru that it plans to celebrate 25 years of being at the cutting edge of social entrepreneurship with an all-Asia event at the Infosys campus in Bangalore on January 18, with founder and chairperson Bill Drayton in attendance.
The event will feature the annual induction ceremony for its 40 newly selected social entrepreneurs from Asia, to be partly hosted by Infosys. A session on bridging the social and business divide will bring together big names and is to be hosted by Subroto Bagchi, co-founder and COO of MindTree. Jamshyd Godrej from India, Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande from the US, Toni Yulo-Loyzaga from The Philippines, and Prida Tiasuwan from Thailand will attend it. Ashoka Innovators US President Emeritus Sushmita Ghosh makes no bones about the NGO courting Infosys as its prospective partner and funder.
The bond between the NGO and the industrialist was sparked off by a foreword written by Narayana Murthy for a Penguin book called “How to Change the World : Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas” by David Bornstein. Ashoka was mentioned with a lot of appreciation, says Ghosh. “We hope to have him as an ally and, more importantly, as a role model. Isn’t he one?” she asks. But the likelihood of Infosys becoming one of the funders is as probable and talks are on between Murthy and Ashoka. “We will know on that soon,” she says.
Ashoka, with a $22 million budget, has funds from big business entrepreneurs like Craig and Susan Mccaw of Nextel and Pierre Omidyar, the founder of E Bay. The NGO invests in social entrepreneurs all over the world with financial aid for three years to back a unique idea or strategy in development.
The most recent of the Ashoka fellows include Magsaysay awardee Arvind Kejriwal who has championed the Right to Information cause and set an example of people attaining their basic rights by exercising RTI.The non-profit organisation has recently started an award for changemakers, in which people are asked to offer online their ideas on strategies for change in one particular area. These ideas are left online for the world to pick up and turn into reality, says Ghosh.