Submit your idea. Create more jobs. Win $50,000.

Right now, over 200 million people are without a viable way to make a living, and millions more are in less-than-desirable working conditions around the globe.

Yet it’s not hopeless. With so many brilliant entrepreneurial minds out there, Ashoka’s Changemakers and the eBay Foundation believe solutions are possible.


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The Powering Economic Opportunity: Creating a World that Works competition is open to individuals, organizations and collaborations who think they have what it takes to create sustainable employment opportunities in vulnerable communities around the world. Anyone can submit their idea in English, French, Spanish, or Portuguese.

Five winners will each receive US $50,000. The deadline to submit is June 15. Enter the Changemakers-eBay Empowering Economic Opportunity Competition here:

Stand-out entries will be those that have shown impact, are ready to be replicated elsewhere, and play nicely with others to expand their reach. The creativity is astounding so far. There’s everything from a historic center in Cuba to a farming magazine in Tanzania to a women’s swimming project in Sri Lanka.

So, entrepreneurs: get to it. Employ your imagination, and be a part of helping to bring the jobless millions down to zero. Coming up blank? Share your opinions on the entries themselves, and wage your bets on the best ideas by voting for who will make it to the first round.

Update, 5.13.2011: Ashoka Changemakers recently let us know about a new way to participate in the competition: ChangeSpotting. Until May 25, ChangeSpotters can nominate organizations and social entrepreneurs who are already creating jobs. All you need to do is take a picture of yourself with their logo, or something that makes it clear who you’re nominating, and send it to or upload it to your Facebook or Twitter account. Five randomly selected ChangeSpotters will each receive a $50 gift card to

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Comments (14)

  1. Eva Koumtog writes:
    May 9, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    I am concerned about the legal rights to the submitted ideas. If I were to submit a business model, would I still retain all rights to it? In other words, what if someone uses it to create a company, do I receive further compensations? Or are the $50,000 all that I will ever get for my idea?

  2. Barbara Hobens Feldt writes:
    May 9, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    I agree with the first comment.

  3. Bahiyah Yasmeen writes:
    May 9, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    Ashoka’s Changemakers cannot be and is not responsible for protecting your idea or business model. That said, the online open source platform can serve as a solid home for your idea in so much as you have already taken the measures to properly protect it (via copyrights, trademarks, etc.)

    The grants that are given to winners (and sometimes finalists) are typically unrestricted and are provided for the purpose of scaling the winners’ idea(s) and/or proven innovation(s).

    Just like anything else you put on the world wide web, of course there is a chance that someone else either has a similar idea or uses the baseline of your idea to make their own version. It’s not the idea, but the implementation of that idea, that Ashoka’s Changemakers and their partners are interested in supporting. I hope this makes sense, and that you will enter with only the information that you feel comfortable in sharing!

    If you have any further questions or are interested in submitting your innovation before the early entry deadline on May 11th, please feel free to contact me at

  4. Kamiel Verwer / writes:
    May 10, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Guess what, I have an idea that I believe in so strongly that I would WISH for someone else, for everybody else to take it and copy it. Our idea is explained well enough on our site connecting the least connected with courageous skilled global independent changemakers.

    That said, I do believe that entrepreneurial incentives should not be limited to selfless gestures but also entail a healthy component of business thinking. I do like the Ashoka approach a lot, but would like to remark that the most replicable project will be the holistic approaches that work “in all directions”: educational support along with sustainable lending collectives, healthcare job creation and sanitation/health sensitization based on local cultural traditions could be a package applicable all over the world. I think it is time to string together isolated initiatives such as smart devices and smart schemes, and create a powerful toolkit that can transform lives when in the hands of the right changemakers.

  5. Peace Udobang writes:
    May 11, 2011 at 4:16 am

    Are applications based on a specific nationality or open to all? Is there any age limitation? Hw would u help d winner in implementing the idea?

  6. hstrychck writes:
    May 11, 2011 at 7:01 am

    Regarding Peace’s comment, would there be any help extended to a winner to implement the idea, and perhaps start a non-profit for that purpose?

  7. Lehlohonolo writes:
    May 11, 2011 at 9:49 am

    I like teach air carbon free to my society in South Africa, with the funds of United Nations.

  8. deborah writes:
    May 11, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    where do we send our ideas? or do we post them here?

  9. deborah writes:
    May 11, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    I am in U.S. , In Tampa Bay Area.
    Our state has the highest rate of vacant properties (due to foreclosures and unemployment) which our state has record numbers of : foreclosure, unemployment, homelessness.

    At the same time, every household (63%) of households have pets, when the job ends, health suffers or home is foreclosed the owner’s pets, (dogs) go without a home or they go to the County Shelter that is euthanizing record numbers of dogs for lack of space.

    My idea is to: partner a 501c3, non profit organization that shelters these dogs, trains them, aptitude tests them for the proper enviornment or new home to be placed in with vacant properties that are donated or sold to the Non Profit that also serves the community as board/groom/training facilities.

    This idea provides income for the non profit, as well as work for people that need work , also workshops to get into animal husbandry in either grooming/training/boarding occupations. This also provides the shelter that is free reign, training environment along with non kill environment for dogs that are displaced and to help their owners to ensure their animal gets either back to them if they can get them back, or to ensure a good home for their animal.

    My idea is one that starts a small business, that a percentage goes to the Non Profit and they are a team working together. Once I implement the one I am working on now here in St. Pete, Fl, they can be franchised and reproduced to anyone that wants to start their own Animal Shelter/Small Business that aides the needy.

    I have more plans than this ready to go. I want to patent them and incorporate them.

    I have 20 years experience in real estate industry and 20 years experience working with dogs, primarily working breed dogs of which is my focus , but all breeds will be welcome and I can create the office environment for those that need work, want to start their own small businesses to come in and be put on our waiting list.

    The only thing stopping me right now is MONEY.
    I am going forward but very slow moving and the truth and reality of this endeavor is that it takes money to continue lifting it off the ground.

    Hope I make it to win the big bucks that I can do my project with!

    I already have property under my control that I can purchase for next to nothing , as well as other vacant properties (commercial) in high traffic area that I can get transferred into the proper facilitie.
    Then comes my franchise for the hardest hit areas in our nation.
    (new york, detroit, etc,etc,etc)

    It will be geared to help those that want to start their own business.
    It will be geared to help the homeless and unemployed gain work experience in animal husbandry.
    I am leaving part of my idea out of this scenario but it will create:
    use of vacant abandoned properties that better the community
    reduction of crime from abandoned properties and the need to survive for people living in 50% unemployment rate locations
    mentoring and opportunities for high risk kids and students
    workshops to educate and vocational training programs
    jobs for the community
    K9s helping people will also help with other vacant commercial properties that can be donated and used for small business persons and they can contribute a % of their proceeds to the Shelter that serves as the base to faciliate this
    Prevention of Homelessness for people and for animals- Abandoned properties that are donated that create opportunities for housing and work opportunties, to the kennel or small business franchise that the kennels create (dog wash and car wash).

    Again, I hope that I am the winner to get further down the road.
    I have the Non Profit, I have the Tax ID number, I have one property so far and several more in the process.
    Need funds to make it happen with my logo and my website and all my literature, to properly present to the owners that can make the donations at the same time, start up the small buisness that goes to work immediate to generate funds that part of will go to its partner Non Profit.

    Thank you!!

  10. Shawnte Pitts writes:
    May 11, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    I would like to know if the 50,000 could be donated to a non-profit agency that would see the idea through

  11. James Alan Smith writes:
    May 12, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    I have an idea for an electric motorcycle. It will go 55 mph and run four hours. My idea was to add a detachable side car, for groceries, girlfriend or pet snake! The sidecar will have a ram charger on either side that will lead to an impeller inside that drives a generator charging the batteries as you go down the highway, almost a perpetual motion machine!!! The same shaft in the generator can have a slot on top that can connect to a stowable vertical wind turbine to charge it while you’re at work or having a mocha on a breezy day! I also have a solar charging station designed, for the house. If a small renewable fuel generator, stored inside the sidecar could be invented, as a backup more the better. Completely off the grid and green!!!! James Alan Smith

  12. Idealist writes:
    May 13, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Thanks for the ideas and questions, everyone! I just want to be clear: Idealist is not sponsoring or judging this competition. You’ll want to head over to the Changemakers website to learn more and enter. Good luck!

  13. deborah writes:
    May 15, 2011 at 3:30 am

    Thanks for that I, because I overlooked the data you had here to do this properly.
    I found the site and am excited at the opportunity to submit. I encourage everyone to start early because it is rather time consuming to do this and cannot be done at once, Writing , drafting and finalizing I see takes some time and effort so I am thankful I found this info now so that I can get started on it!

    Thanks Again!

  14. Andrea Grimaldo writes:
    May 30, 2011 at 10:44 am

    I personally dont think that Ashoka will be responsible for any legal protection for your ideas. The 50,000 dollars should be put into affect by the winner and thier promising idea. Do you guys remember Pesi Co had something very similar the person or organization wiht the best idea gets funded by Pepsi..

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