Schwab Foundation



    The Schwab Foundation is a not-for-profit organization, founded in 1998. Its purpose is to “advance social entrepreneurship and to foster social entrepreneurs as an important catalyst for societal innovation and progress.”


    The organisation was founded in 1998 by Klaus Schwab and his wife Hilde. They provided an endowment for the Foundation to promote entrepreneurial solutions with social commitment designed to impact at a grassroots level. Klaus Schwab also created the World Economic Forum in 1971, bringing together a community of world leaders to improve the state of the world. Leaders at this forum come from the worlds of business, academia and government. The two entities are separate from one another and have different boards. However, they do work together relatively closely to achieve mutual goals.

    Mission and Vision

    What the organisation does not do is give grants or invest financially in organisations of its selected social entrepreneurs.

    Mostly the Schwab Foundation acts as a community and serves to highlight what social entrepreneurs are doing. One of its main goals is to select between 20 and 25 social entrepreneurs from around the world each year, and it does this through its Social Entrepreneur of the Year competition. The organisation posts the profiles of these selected social entrepreneurs online. In addition to the competition, there are already 260 social entrepreneurs that are an integral part of the Schwab Foundation community. These people are located across the globe and the community serves to encourage peer to peer exchange among the social entrepreneurs.

    The Foundation works to connect social entrepreneurs and it holds regional and global meetings at a World Economic Forum. These forums provide excellent opportunities for networking connections to be made. As well as the support already mentioned, the organisation also works to support young social entrepreneurs with a forum specifically targeted at those under the age of 40, the Forum of Young Global Leaders. It also works with Harvard University, Stanford University and INSEAD to make sure that scholarship opportunities can be available for selected social entrepreneurs.


    For those that want to get involved with the Schwab Foundation, it is necessary to apply to the aforementioned competition. Applicants are expected to complete the application form and submit requested information such as a CV, income statements and other items. There are certain criteria that the foundation looks for when selecting people into the Foundation Network. These include the ability of the social enterprise to be able to produce transformative social change, which may be achieved through a new product or service, a new production or distribution method, a new labour supply, reformulating a product for a population and new organisational structures or funding models. Another is organisational sustainability, including financial sustainability, but also a business model that is demonstrably sustainable and which has a proven track record. The organisation will not consider start-ups or pilot projects, and applicant organisations must have three years of operations under their belt before being able to apply.

    Additionally, the reach and scope of the social entrepreneur’s project needs to have already extended beyond its initial location and to be further scalable. The social entrepreneur needs to be okay with sharing tools, approaches and techniques with others. Finally, the candidate has to be able to demonstrate that he or she is able to act as an ambassador for social entrepreneurship.

    The rewards for being able to demonstrate a strong candidacy are high in terms of social entrepreneurs being able to further their own causes and showcase what they are doing. For social entrepreneurs that are at the right level, it may be well worth the effort needed to apply in order to become accepted into the foundation.



    Previous articleFoundation Ashoka
    Next articleUnltd
    Hernaldo Turrillo is a writer and author specialised in innovation, AI, DLT, SMEs, trading, investing and new trends in technology and business. He has been working for ztudium group since 2017. He is the editor of,,, and writes regularly for, Hernaldo was born in Spain and finally settled in London, United Kingdom, after a few years of personal growth. Hernaldo finished his Journalism bachelor degree in the University of Seville, Spain, and began working as reporter in the newspaper, Europa Sur, writing about Politics and Society. He also worked as community manager and marketing advisor in Los Barrios, Spain. Innovation, technology, politics and economy are his main interests, with special focus on new trends and ethical projects. He enjoys finding himself getting lost in words, explaining what he understands from the world and helping others. Besides a journalist, he is also a thinker and proactive in digital transformation strategies. Knowledge and ideas have no limits.