2007 Winner

Bill Drayton

CEO and Founder, Ashoka

Drayton has been a social entrepreneur since he was a New York City elementary school student. He became concerned with inequity within the U.S. and between the world’s North and South. Once focused on such a chasm, any entrepreneur would have to ask: “What can I do?” At Harvard and Oxford, Bill did ask. Fully appreciating how central to significant change (“development”) entrepreneurs are, his answer was the Ashoka idea. Bill has received many awards for his achievements. He was elected one of the early MacArthur Fellows for his work, including the founding of Ashoka in 1980.

Ashoka is the largest network of social entrepreneurs worldwide, with nearly 3,000 Ashoka Fellows in 70 countries putting their system changing ideas into practice on a global scale. It has provided start-up financing, professional support services, and connections to a global network across the business and social sectors, and a platform for people dedicated to changing the world. Ashoka launched the field of social entrepreneurship and has activated multi-sector partners across the world who increasingly look to entrepreneurial talent and new ideas to solve social problems.