Press releases | Basics Needs & Social Entrepreneurship 25.10.2010

“Technology for Human Needs” – Siemens Stiftung and Ashoka create shared platform to promote social entrepreneurs from Latin America, Asia and Africa

The Siemens Stiftung and Ashoka, an international organization dedicated to promoting social entrepreneurs, share a common commitment to strengthening and supporting entrepreneurs who apply simple technologies to improve the living conditions in developing and emerging nations. The “Technology for Human Needs” conference to be held October 25-27, 2010, in the SiemensForum in Munich will offer selected social entrepreneurs from Latin America, Asia and Africa the opportunity to share their experiences and apply the insights they gain into further developing their own concepts. “The conference is part of our program Encourage. Empowering People.,” emphasized Ulrike Wahl of the Siemens Stiftung Board of Directors. “The name stands for the Siemens Stiftung’s commitment to create income opportunities by encouraging personal initiative and entrepreneurial spirit, thereby empowering people in developing countries to help themselves.”

The Siemens Stiftung and Ashoka founded a social business development group (SBDG) – a network of eleven social entrepreneurs that have already actively initiated and implemented projects involving energy, water and environmental protection combined with the creation of job opportunities in their home regions. A defining aspect of all the projects is that the entrepreneurs transcend mere entrepreneurship to build structures within their environment that help people help themselves. Simple yet innovative technologies are used, for example, to generate affordable “green” energy from agro-industrial waste, provide better healthcare, introduce more effective waste recycling or help more people gain access to clean drinking water. The aim is to involve the beneficiaries so that over the medium term they can make their own contribution to improving their living conditions.

The conference offers its participants the opportunity to network with potential partners and share their knowledge in workshops on such diverse topics as business plans and how to involve local players and communities. Participants also receive professional support from internationally renowned social business and social investment experts, who offer advice on how to win investors for long-term growth or which steps are needed to establish a business idea on a solid financial footing.

“As a social investor, we have worked since 1980 to identify and support social entrepreneurs who apply innovative concepts to solve social problems. They receive not only financial support but also access to networks so that they can disseminate their innovations. The conference in Munich that we are sponsoring in collaboration with the Siemens Stiftung offers our fellows an ideal opportunity to network and strengthen their business model,” notes Felix Oldenburg, Country Director of Ashoka Germany.

The goal of the Siemens Stiftung is to help alleviate poverty and create better living conditions. To achieve this, the Siemens Stiftung promotes the improvement of basic services and the strengthening of social structures, supports education projects, and contributes to the development of arts and culture. The focal regions of the Siemens Stiftung are Africa, Latin America, and Europe. The Siemens Stiftung is headquartered in Munich, Germany. It was founded in September 2008 as a charitable foundation under civil law and endowed by Siemens AG with foundation capital of EUR 390 million, continuing the company’s over 160-year tradition of social commitment.

Ashoka brings entrepreneurship to the social sector – as a business angel with philanthropic risk capital. Since 1980, Ashoka has elected over 2,500 social entrepreneurs from 70 countries as Ashoka Fellows, providing them with stipends, professional support and networks to share their innovative models for solving social problems. Ashoka is supported by a global network of private investors, charitable foundations and businesses, including eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and pro bono partners such as McKinsey & Company, Latham & Watkins LLP, Egon Zehnder International and Hill & Knowlton.