eBay Foundation Awards $250,000 to Winners of Social Entrepreneurship Competition

By: eBay Inc. Staff

Record-breaking competition co-hosted with Ashoka Changemaker announces five recipients

SAN JOSE, Calif. --(BUSINESS WIRE)--Five winners were announced today in the Powering Economic Opportunity: Create a World That Works competition, co-hosted by eBay Foundation and Ashoka Changemakers. Nearly 900 entries from 83 countries were submitted—the most ever for a single Changemakers.com competition—and the winners represent some of the world’s most innovative market-based solutions that are creating economic opportunity and generating employment for disadvantaged populations. Each winner will receive a cash prize of US $50,000 from eBay to invest in scaling their idea.

“It was an honor to participate as a judge in the competition, and eBay Foundation and eBay are proud to support the winners as they spread the impact of their innovations around the globe”

One of the winning entries, Nuru Energy to Empower: Rural Energy Entrepreneurship in India and East Africa, represents the aims of the competition and the innovative solutions it has identified from around the world. Founded by Sameer Hajee, Nuru addresses the need to replace kerosene as a source of lighting for the two billion people who lack electricity, and also creates jobs for those living in poverty. The organization’s model enables local entrepreneurs to operate their own microfranchises and earn more than $3 per day in profit. This enables entrepreneurs to climb out of poverty at wages representing three to four times the national average, all while providing critical lighting to their communities at an 85 percent savings.

The other winners of the competition are:

“It was an honor to participate as a judge in the competition, and eBay Foundation and eBay are proud to support the winners as they spread the impact of their innovations around the globe,” said John Donahoe, President and CEO, eBay Inc. “By advancing social innovations such as Nuru Energy and the other competition winners, we can help unlock economic opportunities for people who otherwise would not be able to participate in the global economy.”

The winning solutions were selected through a combination of public voting via a new Facebook application and the Changemakers.com platform, as well as expert evaluation. The ten finalists selected through public voting were judged on their innovation, social impact, and sustainability by an international panel of experts to determine the five winners. The competition judges were:

  • Maureen Conway, Executive Director of the Economic Opportunities Program, The Aspen Institute
  • Bibek Debroy, Economist and Professor, Centre for Policy Research
  • John Donahoe, President and CEO, eBay Inc.
  • Nancy Lee, General Manager, Multilateral Investment Fund
  • Gayle Lemmon, Author and Deputy Director, Council on Foreign Relations’ Women and Foreign Policy program
  • Vivianne Naigeborin, Strategic Advisor, Potencia Ventures

“I am inspired to see the breadth of innovative solutions that are creating economic opportunity for the world’s most vulnerable,” said Diana Wells, President, Ashoka. “We are delighted to have received a record-breaking number of entries and truly honored to be able to support the pattern changing work being done by the winning innovators.”

More information about the competition is available at www.changemakers.com/economicopportunity.

About eBay Foundation and The Opportunity Project

The first corporate foundation to be endowed with pre-IPO stock, eBay Foundation was established in 1998 to stretch the boundaries of eBay’s virtual village, enriching and empowering communities by connecting people to opportunities and resources. Using a unique combination of foundation funding, employee volunteerism, and other resources, The Opportunity Project spreads that same vision to the world’s poorest communities. Inspired by the economic opportunity that eBay has brought to millions of people around the globe who earn a living on eBay’s marketplaces, The Opportunity Project gives people in need the chance to participate in the economy, provide for their families, and build stronger communities. www.theopportunityproject.org

About Ashoka Changemakers

Ashoka Changemakers is a community of action that connects social entrepreneurs around the globe to share ideas, inspire, and mentor each other. Through its online collaborative competitions and open-source process, Changemakers.com is one of the world’s most robust spaces for launching, discussing, and funding ideas to solve the world’s most pressing social problems. Changemakers builds on Ashoka's three decade history and belief that we all have the ability to be a Changemaker. www.Changemakers.com