Swiss banking giant UBS has launched a global programme in partnership with Ashoka – a global network of social entrepreneurs – to select high-potential social enterprises that address some of society’s most pressing challenges.
The programme, dubbed UBS Social Innovators, will join an Accelerator program in 2017 to help social entrepreneurs grow their organisations and achieve greater social impact.
This tailored package of support will include access to UBS’s network and know-how, global exposure and expert coaching.
"Eligible social enterprises can be working in any field and tackling a social or environmental issue at any scale from local to international. They must have developed their solutions beyond proof of concept and already be up and running and potentially looking to grow through social investment," UBS said in a statement.
The press statement added that up to 12 shortlisted social enterprises in each participating region will be invited to a two-day Regional Bootcamp, during which they will pitch for a spot in their Regional Final.
One social enterprise from each region will earn the title of UBS Social Innovator. They will enter a tailored year-long Accelerator program focused on scaling up their impact and receive a $40,000 grant.
The programme is an initiative of UBS and Society, UBS’s cross-divisional platform covering all of UBS’s activities in sustainable investing and philanthropy, environmental and social policies, including supply chain management, and community investment.
Caroline Anstey, global head UBS and Society, said: "At UBS, we believe our clients can do well by doing good – that social investments can be profitable investments. But there is a gap: many social enterprises have difficulty growing large enough to become truly investable. We hope to identify innovative social enterprises that are at that difficult point and help them to scale."
Ashoka founder and CEO Bill Drayton said: "The partnership between UBS and Ashoka is important. As the rate of change in the world continues to accelerate exponentially, financial and social systems must change profoundly – and much faster. Such change requires the top-caliber social entrepreneurs we will help launch and grow together."
The deadline for submitting expressions of interest to enter the program is 31 August 2016. UBS and Ashoka experts will review all the application forms, provide each applicant with feedback and select a shortlist of 10 to 12 applicants in each region. Shortlisted social enterprises will be announced before the end of September 2016.
All shortlisted social enterprises will be invited to their region’s Bootcamp, where they will receive mentoring and support from UBS and Ashoka experts. Four social enterprises in each region will be selected as Regional Finalists and will attend the Regional Summit.
In collaboration with Ashoka, UBS will build and execute a bespoke 12-month Accelerator programme around each UBS Social Innovator, starting in January 2017 and ending December 2017.
The programme will include quarterly meetings with Ashoka, UBS employees and other relevant third parties; a structured program of virtual and in-person workshops on preparing for social investment; 1:1 mentoring and coaching with key stakeholders; presentations to UBS employees, partners and potential investors; and other opportunities as appropriate to each specific organization.