Press releases | Development Cooperation 12.09.2011

Network for social innovation in emerging and developing countries meets for the second time in Munich

With sustainable business models and the innovative use of basic technologies, social entrepreneurs are improving basic living conditions

Eleven social entrepreneurs from Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Asia will meet from September 12 - 14, 2011, at the Goethe-Institut in Munich. During the three-day workshop, which will focus on “Community Impact Development”, they will exchange information and ideas on how to further strengthen the positive social effects of their business models in their respective communities. Also a panel discussion “The Future of Social Entrepreneurship and Global Economic Transformation” with social entrepreneurs and experts in the field will be held on Wednesday September 14.

With the second meeting of the Community Impact Development Group (CIDG), Siemens Stiftung and Ashoka are continuing the successful program they created in 2010 for promoting leading international social entrepreneurs. Through the CIDG, the two organizations support social entrepreneurs whose projects help overcome deficits in basic services. The entrepreneurs are active in areas such as energy, water, and waste management, with the goal of creating opportunities for people to make a living while also improving the quality of life and overall social structures.

“Entrepreneurial thinking can drive social and economic development through innovative approaches to solutions for social challenges. The Siemens Stiftung aims to promote the transfer of workable social entrepreneurial ideas from different regions and acquire international partners from various sectors, to further develop solution approaches and make them scalable”, said Chief Operating Officer Ulrike Wahl in explaining the commitment of the Siemens Stiftung.

The CIDG’s primary goal is to support the social leverage of innovations by social entrepreneurs – for example through faster growth of the social enterprises, strengthening their negotiating positions, and transferring successful models to other regions.

“There is nothing more powerful than an innovation in the hands of a true entrepreneur, and that also applies to the social sector worldwide. Social entrepreneurs actively address social problems in their communities, and keep doing so until they have found a sustainable solution that fixes the cause of the problem. Supporting these outstanding personalities with social innovation is the most efficient way of development cooperation”, said Konstanze Frischen, founder of Ashoka Germany and board member of Ashoka International.

In everyday life, the members of the CIDG demonstrate the effectiveness of information exchange across the network as a whole. Some social entrepreneurs have been able to adopt elements of each others’ business models, contacts with social investors have been established – some of which have led to investments – and there have been collaborations between social entrepreneurs from different continents.

More information on the social entrepreneurs in the CIDG network can be found in the investment brochure at the project site.

Panel discussion on “The Future of Social Entrepreneurship”
September 14, 1:00-2:30 p.m. – Goethe Institute Munich
As part of the CIDG conference, on September 14 from 1:00 to 2:30 pm, there will be a panel discussion on “The Future of Social Entrepreneurship in Times of Global Economic Transformation”. Well-known experts will join in discussions with social entrepreneurs and social investors. More information on the panel discussion  

As part of its commitment to basic services and social entrepreneurship, the Siemens Stiftung entered into a collaboration with the Global Nature Fund, Osram AG, and Thames Electricals Ltd. in early September to build stations for ecologically sustainable, decentralized water and energy supply. These “Water-Energy Hubs” (WE!Hubs) are setup as social enterprises and provide not only fair access to water and energy, but also entrepreneurial and training opportunities. More information on WE!Hub


ENCOURAGE. empowering people. Inspired by the values of Werner von Siemens, the Siemens Stiftung aims to give people the ability to actively address society’s challenges. It is active in the areas of expanding basic services and social entrepreneurship, promoting education, and strengthening culture. The Stiftung follows a holistic approach and stands for responsible, results-oriented, innovative projects.

Ashoka is the world’s first and leading organization supporting social entrepreneurs. It identifies scalable social innovations in 70 countries, and supports the 2,500 social entrepreneurs who stand behind them as Ashoka Fellows, helping them spread their ideas with grants, consulting, and a global network. With its many programs, Ashoka is helping to bring about a world in which everyone can create positive societal change. Ashoka is financed exclusively by private investors and partnerships with business and foundations. For more information see