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Ashoka presents four new Spanish leaders in social innovation

    Madrid, 2nd December, 2016.

    Madrid; December 2, 2016: Viviana Waisman (Women’s Link Worldwide), María Almazán (Latitude), David Cuartielles (Verkstad Arduino) and Carmen Pellicer (Fundación Trilema) - outstanding social innovation leaders in human rights, education and the textile sector - have joined the Ashoka network.

    Ashoka is the largest social entrepreneur network in the world with more than 3,300 members in 90 countries, 32 of them in Spain. For more than 30 years, it has been doing work to search and identify these people with an immense capacity for social transformation.

    Once selected, the entrepreneurs receive a financial grant over a three-year period, if needed, as well as strategic support to boost and enhance the scope of their impact.        

    “When selecting a social entrepreneur, we measure not only the direct impact on their beneficiaries but also how the social entrepreneur approaches the root causes of a problem and working so that it no longer exists or is resolved in a new way,” explained Ana Sáenz de Miera, Director of Ashoka in Spain and Coordinator of Ashoka in Europe, yesterday.

    The new Spanish social entrepreneurs to join Ashoka were presented at an event held yesterday at Matadero Madrid, organized in collaboration with Grupo Vips 

    “At Grupo Vips, we share Ashoka’s commitment to social innovation as we firmly believe that people and companies can foster positive changes in our society. Over these more than six years of collaboration, Ashoka has inspired some of our Corporate Responsibility initiatives which proves the effectiveness of entrepreneurs and companies working as part of a network to make it so that social change can become a reality,” said Enrique Francia, CEO of Grupo Vips.


    The new Ashoka Social Entrepreneurs

    Carmen Pellicer (Fundación Trilema)

    Carmen has decided to change the Spanish education system by identifying and empowering outstanding teachers who can make the transformation in their schools and education processes.  In the last 5 years, she has worked with 50,000 teachers in Europe and Africa and has become of the key role-players in the transformation of education in Spain, negotiating education reforms with the national government.      

    David Cuartielles (Verkstad Arduino)

    By designing and implementing a new education model, David Cuartielles is motivating a generation of adolescents to improve their understanding of technology and problem solving.

    As co-creator of the open technology Arduino, David has designed a model that allows unqualified teachers to encourage their students to use technology to boost their creativity and capacity to approach the challenges of a changing society.

    María Almazán (Latitude)

    María is revolutionizing the fashion industry with an open and scalable system that is implemented in each phase of the value chain to foster sustainable textile production and consumption at an affordable cost.

    With her prior experience in the fashion world, Maria works in constant contact with the main stakeholders in the European textile industry and is sewing together a global network of manufacturers, brands and consumers: she is calling upon them to adopt new production and consumption models, drastically improve workers’ labor conditions and reduce the industry’s impact on the environment.

    Viviana Waisman (Women's Link Worldwide)

    Viviana uses the power of the law to define and accelerate women’s and girls’ rights.  Her strategy goes beyond the courtroom and uses strategic litigation to reinforce the human rights infrastructure, create public debate and contribute to social mobilization to guarantee women’s rights, improve sexual and reproductive rights and reduce discrimination, violence and human trafficking.


    Companies are committing to social innovation

    Just as social entrepreneurs, companies are a major factor in social development. Collaboration among these two sectors is necessary for a positive systemic impact.  

    This year, Ashoka has been able to rely on collaboration from several companies that are committed to innovation and social change such as Fundación Puig, Coca-Cola, Boehringer Ingelheim, Grupo Vips, Fundación Barclays, Robert Bosch Stiftung, Fundación ICO, Ecoembes, Hidraqua, Canaragua, Aguas Andinas, Aguas de Cartagena and Fundacion Acuorum.

    On the other hand, Ashoka also relies on the members of the Impulse Network as a source of strategy and vision.


    About Ashoka

    Ashoka is a global, independent and non-profit organization that is leading the commitment to innovation and social entrepreneurism as it builds a society of citizens who foster change, known as changemakers. Its founder, Bill Drayton, received the Prince of Asturias Prize for International Cooperation in 2011.

    Ashoka supports the work of more than 3,300 social entrepreneurs in 90 countries (it is currently supporting 32 in Spain) and the work of innovative schools that are changing education in the world in addition to fostering alliances and collaboration among social entrepreneurs and companies as a source of economic and social value.     

    Ashoka’s vision is a world of changemakers where all people feel they have the capacity, support and freedom to act to improve their environment and offer answers to the most urgent social problems.


    About Grupo Vips

    Grupo Vips is one of the leading multi-brand and multi-format groups in the food service and retail sector in Spain. It includes restaurants, cafés and shops. The company manages a total of six well-known chains it either owns or operates under franchising agreements: VIPS (cafeteria - restaurant and shop), VIPS Smart, GINOS, The Wok, FRIDAYS and Starbucks Coffee in Spain, Portugal and Andorra.  Wagamama will soon be joining them. Moreover, the group has a premium sandwich, salad and take-away product factory, BSF. The company manages a total of 350 locations serving more than 120,000 customers a day. It runs a pioneer and restaurant sector-leading loyalty program, Club VIPS, with more than 1,000,000 members throughout Spain.  The app, which is unique in the market and was launched at the end of April 2015, has already been downloaded more than 550,000 times. Grupo Vips is a private equity company which was founded in 1969. Seventy percent of Grupo Vips shares are held by majority shareholders and founders, led by the Arango family, and 30% are held by the ProA Capital fund. Grupo Vips employs more than 9,300 people and ended fiscal year 2015 with 377.6 million euros in turnover.