Schwab Foundation announces its 2022 Social Innovators of the Year

Fifteen social innovators join Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship’s community of 400-plus entrepreneurs across the globe.

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship today announced its 15 Social Innovators of the Year 2022. 

The foundation announced the awards from Geneva as part of The Davos Agenda, a series of virtual meetings hosted by the World Economic Forum in place of the planned annual meeting of world leaders in the Swiss Ski Resort of Davos.

The Schwab Foundation board members selected the awardees for four categories: social entrepreneurs, corporate social intrapreneurs, public social intrapreneurs and social innovation thought leaders. The board includes Helle Thorning-Schmidt, former prime minister of Denmark, and Queen Mathilde of Belgium. 


A new ecosystem of leaders

Hilde Schwab, co-founder and chair of the Schwab Foundation said: “The Social Innovators of the Year 2022 represent a new ecosystem of leaders who are driving change and shifting organisations and systems towards a more just, inclusive, sustainable future.” 

The awardees become part of the Schwab Foundation’s community of more than 400 social innovators across 70-plus countries. They have the opportunity to become involved in the meetings, initiatives and projects of the World Economic Forum and benefit from peer-to-peer exchange with each other. 

Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, co-chair of the Motsepe Foundation, which is a long-term partner of the awards, and chancellor of the University of Cape Town said: “I strongly believe social entrepreneurship, combined with local innovation and technology, can create meaningful change and recovery in Africa and many developing nations. At its core it is about bringing together the best of business discipline and efficiency with the best of human and social values. We need this synergy, now more than ever.” 

The Schwab Foundation was created in 1998 by professor Klaus Schwab and Hilde Schwab to support a new model for social change, aiming to combine business principles with mission, compassion and dedication to build a better society. Klaus Schwab is executive chair of the World Economic Forum. 


The 2022 awardees

Social entrepreneurs

Founders or chief executive officers who solve a social or environmental problem, with a focus on low-income, marginalised or vulnerable populations

Ashraf Patel, co-founder of Pravah and ComMutiny Youth Collective (CYC), India

Celso Athayde, founder of Central Unica das Favelas (CUFA) and chief executive officer of Favela Holding, Brazil

Jos De Blok, founder of Buurtzorg, Netherlands

Kennedy Odede, founder and chief executive officer of SHOFCO (Shining Hope for Communities), Kenya

Marlon Parker, co-founder of Reconstructed Living Labs (RLabs) and Rene Parker, chief executive officer and managing director of RLabs, South Africa

Mikaela Jade, founder and chief executive officer of Indigital, Australia

Rana Dajani, founder and director of Taghyeer/We Love Reading, Jordan

Wenfeng Wei (Jim), founder and chief executive officer of DaddyLab, People’s Republic of China

Corporate social intrapreneurs

Leaders within multinational or regional companies who drive the development of new products, initiatives, services or business models that address societal and environmental challenges

Gisela Sanchez, corporate affairs, marketing, strategy and sustainability director, Bac International Bank and board member of Nutrivida, Costa Rica

Sam McCracken, founder and general manager of Nike N7, USA


Public social intrapreneurs

Government leaders who harness the power of social innovation social entrepreneurship to create public good through policy, regulation or public initiatives

Pradeep Kakkattil, director of innovation, UNAIDS, Switzerland

Sanjay Pradhan, chief executive officer of Open Government Partnership (OGP), Global


Social innovation thought leaders

Recognised experts and champions shaping the evolution of social innovation

Alberto Alemanno, professor of Law at HEC Paris and founder of The Good Lobby, European Union

Adam Kahane, director of Reos Partners, Canada

Hahrie Han, Stavros Niarchos Foundation professor of Political Science, Inaugural director of the SNF Agora Institute, Johns Hopkins University, USA


Nominations for the Social Innovator of the Year 2023 awards are now open, closing on 13 March 2022. There is more information on the Schwab Foundation website.


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