Nearly 900 Ideas From 83 Countries Vie for eBay Social Innovation Funding in Record-Breaking Global Competition Co-Hosted With Ashoka’s Changemakers

By: eBay Inc. Staff

eBay launches patented Facebook application to expand impact of the Ashoka’s Changemakers community of action and further mobilize global participation in social innovation

SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Public voting begins today at Changemakers.com to select the ten finalists in the Powering Economic Opportunity: Create a World That Works competition, co-hosted by eBay Foundation and Ashoka’s Changemakers. The online competition was launched to find the world’s most innovative market-based solutions that create economic opportunity and generate employment for disadvantaged populations.

“This is an impressive group of semi-finalists, each unleashing economic opportunity around the world with their creative and disruptive innovations”

With nearly 900 entries from 83 countries, the competition has received the most entries ever for a single Changemakers.com competition since they were started by Ashoka seven years ago. The public will be able to vote for their favorite from among the diverse set of semi-finalist solutions, ranging from new mobile innovations and finance models, to leveraging crowd-sourcing and rural energy initiatives. Voting will take place until August 10, 2011.

“This is an impressive group of semi-finalists, each unleashing economic opportunity around the world with their creative and disruptive innovations,” said Diana Wells, President of Ashoka. “The solutions that emerge as finalists will make a significant contribution to stimulating economic growth, alleviating poverty, and increasing access to restricted job markets.”

The ten solutions with the most votes will go on to compete for five cash prizes of US $50,000 each to invest in scaling their idea. The five winners will be chosen by a panel of international judges and will be announced September 14, 2011.

“eBay is excited about the caliber and diversity of the solutions sourced through this competition,” said Lauren Moore, President of eBay Foundation. “The overwhelming number of innovations submitted for this competition demonstrates the increasing desire on the part of people globally to get involved in social innovation and to become change makers themselves.”

In addition to setting an Ashoka record with its “Create a World that Works” competition, eBay has also created a patented Facebook application that it is licensing royalty-free to Ashoka. Designed to help Ashoka’s Changemakers broaden the impact of its community of action, the application allows people around the world, through Facebook, to learn about, vote on, like and share their favorite entries. The application was created by a team of eBay engineers and illustrates the latest innovation in an emerging trend to build new models of corporate philanthropy and social innovation that leverage technologies such as Facebook. The new application, which can be found at http://apps.facebook.com/changemakers/TOP, will remain an integral part of all Changemakers.com competitions to come.

“This has been an exciting opportunity for our team of eBay engineers to use our technical expertise to exponentially extend the reach of the Changemakers community,” said Nausher Ahmed Cholavaram, an eBay engineer who worked on the project. “By developing this Facebook application for Ashoka, eBay was able to offer a solution that will last beyond the course of this competition and allow many more people around the world to get involved in social innovation.”

The semi-finalists for the competition are:

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’s Changemakers

Ashoka’s 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