Together with my husband, Klaus Schwab, the Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, I decided to create a separate foundation in 1998. For decades, the World Economic Forum had engaged the leaders of civil society organizations at the Annual Meeting in Davos and in all activities throughout the year. However, we observed the emergence of a new model for social change: a model that combines the mission, dedication, and compassion to serve the most vulnerable and marginalized populations of society with business principles and the best techniques from the private sector. That model, of course, is social entrepreneurship.
We saw the urgent need to identify, highlight and give a platform to these organizations, thus including social entrepreneurs in the meetings, discussion platforms and research projects of the World Economic Forum, as well as developing a community of social entrepreneurs. In addition, we wanted to develop a community of interaction and experience exchange and provide social entrepreneurship with higher visibility on the global scene.
For twenty years now, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship has supported the world’s leading social entrepreneurs in their efforts to create a more just, equitable, and sustainable world and I am proud that over 300 social entrepreneurs continue to be engaged in our activities.
I have always maintained that social entrepreneurs are my role models. They work in a challenging, even adverse environment. They persist, despite setbacks and frustrations. And collectively they have transformed the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world, providing education, opportunity, livelihoods, and dignity. It is one of the greatest joys of my life to accelerate and amplify the work of social entrepreneurs in the Schwab Foundation’s global community and to support social entrepreneurship in general.
Hilde Schwab, Chairperson and Co-Founder