unusual pioneers @ 2020
all rights reserved
to build a new
world, we need
unusual pioneers
“In order to go in a different
direction, we need to
build new roads”.
Prof. Muhammad Yunus
Contact Us Apply Now Go to Executive Circle

A Global Platform for
Social Intrapreneurship

Unusual Pioneers is a program initiated by Yunus Social Business, in partnership with Porticus, and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, sister organisation of the World Economic Forum. The program takes intrapreneurs and their executives on a 6-month journey to impact.

Program Partners

The Unusual Pioneers program is built from a growing network of sector experts and leading partners from the social and business sector to ensure a second-to-none curriculum and network

  • Porticus
  • World Economic Forum
  • Schwab Foundation
  • The League of Intrapreneurs
  • FDC
  • Craigberoch Business Decelerator
  • Acumen
  • Ashoka
  • Business-Fight-Poverty
  • Business Call to Action
  • Circle of Intrapreneurs
  • The Dive
  • First Moveis
  • Futurice
  • Impact Hub
  • Impak


  • Scale your initiative with a global group of leading sector organizations

  • Receive
    mentoring from high-profile mentors and coaches

  • Learn and share in a global group of high-profile fellows

  • Receive hands-on scaling support while working on your purpose leadership

The program systematically addresses topics that have proven to be critical to quickly scaling social innovation projects and inspiring transformation in your company.



Click here to see the FAQ
Click here to see the FAQ (frequently asked questions)
Maggie de Pree
“Intrapreneurs are key actors in our race to a just and sustainable economy. Yet, so many remain invisible, operating in isolation and without sufficient support. Just as investment and support ecosystems have emerged for social entrepreneurs, so too, we need to foster intrapreneurial ecosystems. We are partnering with Yunus Social Business and The Unusual Pioneers program to continue to advance this essential support ecosystem to drive change from within”

Maggie de Pree Co-Founder, League of Intrapreneurs

Saskia Bruysten
“At Yunus Social Business we firmly believe that we need to harness the power of business to bring social and economic change. Hence, we have created the first collaborative global platform for social intrapreneurs to help them trigger cultural, business, and organizational transformation within their organizations. I am incredibly humbled to see this amazing group of experts and peers come together and work towards the economic change we so desperately need.”

Saskia Bruysten Co-Founder & CEO, Yunus Social Business

Heiko Spitzeck
“It is a unique opportunity to showcase the potential of social intrapreneurs empowered by customized education.”

Heiko Spitzeck Director Sustainability Research Center Fundação Dom Cabral

Melanie Schultz van Haegen
“Porticus seeks to build stronger systems to secure just and sustainable futures for all. Harnessing intrapreneurial talent and innovators within business is key to promoting change and generating momentum for sustainable business. We are pleased to support Unusual Pioneers, connecting changemakers to create meaningful products, with a focus on both financial and societal value, to reshape business from within some of the world’s largest corporations.”

Melanie Schultz van Haegen CEO, Porticus

Eli Malinsky
“We cannot solve global challenges without business at the table - and business cannot solve these challenges without intrapreneurs. We are proud to join forces with Yunus Social Business and its many partners to strengthen the work of intrapreneurs around the world.”

Eli Malinsky Director, Aspen Institute First Movers Fellowship

Dr François Bonnici
“For over 50 years, the World Economic Forum, the International Organization for Public Private Cooperation, has advocated for companies seek long-term value creation by taking into account the needs of all their stakeholders, and society at large. One of the most powerful and renewable sources of energy for companies to drive towards more purpose led stakeholder capitalism are social innovators inside the company itself – corporate social intrapreneurs. The Schwab Foundation’s mission to advance social innovation prompted the need to recognise leading intrapreneurs since 2019, and to co-create Unusual Pioneers to support the journey of those on the journey to transform their companies, and themselves. We salute you!”

Dr François Bonnici Director, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and Head of Social Innovation, World Economic Forum

Jeanine Buzali
“Unusual Pioneers is such a powerful collective initiative to make the case for social intrapreneurship as a force for sustainable business transformation. We are excited to contribute to this effort to deepen support of corporate intrapreneurship as part of our work empowering companies who believe change should come from within, by helping their workforce to innovate for the good of all.”

Jeanine Buzali Changemaker Companies Lead, Ashoka

Gib Bulloch
“The Craigberoch Business Decelerator aims to create the soil in which "Unusual Pioneers" and their ideas will flourish”

Gib Bulloch Founder Craigberoch Business Decelerator & Member of the Board League of Intrapreneurs

Simon Berkler
“We are driven by the idea of building regenerative organizations and businesses. Joining forces with the Unusal Pioneers program means amplifying impact together.”

Simon Berkler Co-Founder and Managing Director, The Dive

Chris Baker
“The Unusual Pioneers programme will help establish a clear pathway for budding social intrapreneurs to achieve impact at scale, putting #socint firmly on the global impact agenda!”

Chris Baker Managing Director, The Circle of Intrapreneurs

Luciana Aguiar
“The community that makes up the Unusual Pioneers program characterize the many actors needed to help business claim its place as a purpose-driven, pursuit. Business Call to Action is eager to contribute its vast experience working with inclusive businesses that empower people at the Base of the Pyramid to help established companies build their own inclusive business models.”

Luciana Aguiar Head of Business Call to Action, UNDP

Paul Allard
“Our approaches are complementary in the sense that what impak offers - throughout its impact assessment and scoring of companies - is the first essential step towards an impact-oriented business model. Unusual Pioneers takes it from there by supporting this transformation, and ensures viability and sustainability. This seems to us like the best possible way towards a people, planet and profit economy.”

Paul Allard Co-Founder Impak Finance

Katie Hyson
“With our world more interconnected than ever, driving system-level change for a better future will require us to unite across traditional divides and come together in fresh and creative ways. Unusual Pioneers and social intrapreneurs are vital to for this change.”

Katie Hyson Managing Director, Business Fights Poverty

Sarah Nichols
“Impact Hub is thrilled to collaborate with Unusual Pioneers as it enrolls businesses to build a just & sustainable new economy through an unprecedented cross-sectoral format.”

Sarah Nichols Director of Research and Impact

Johannes Stock
“Social intrapreneurs can play a wonderful role in changing things for the better. We're thrilled about being part of the Unusual Pioneers program so we can provide change makers with some good tools to overcome the many hurdles from idea to impact.”

Johannes Stock Principal Consultant, Design Strategist, Futurice

Yasmina Zaidman
“In the face of climate change, economic inequality, and loss of faith in institutions, there is a need to transform business' role in society. Social intrapreneurs are moral leaders that play an essential role in this process, by leading innovations within corporations that create long-term impact for people and the planet. We are proud to partner with Unusual Pioneers and contribute to expanding the field of corporate social intrapreneurship, leveraging Acumen Academy and our network of leading corporate partners.”

Yasmina Zaidman Chief Partnerships Officer, Acumen

Apply Now

Program Roadmap

Swipe for more
Intrapreneurs Partner
The Journey
& Purpose
Dive in with the community of mentors and peers and set the stage for your joined journey. Make progress on your personal leadership journey by reflecting on your Purpose and gaining practical tools for Resilience.
Business Model
& Technology
Get hands-on support in scaling your initiative through excellence in customer experience, product building and business model design.
Systems Change,
Design & Leadership
You are a change leader - inside your parent organization and within your external ecosystem. We want to equip you with the right strategies, methods and skills to grow your team and your network, and identify the right partners to work with.
& Storytelling
Peer mentoring is a core element of Unusual Pioneers. Learn from and mentor with other intrapreneurs and build a network that lasts. Learn how to tell your story in a way that makes your stakeholders get to action.

Who can

First-Time Intrapreneurs

Business Model Creators

Social intrapreneurs who have created a social business model and are looking for visibility, scale and systemic transformation of their parent company.

(e.g., Product Owners for Social Innovation Products, Founders of Corporate Social Businesses)

Experienced Intrapreneurs

Intrapreneurship Catalyzers

Social intrapreneurs who drive change and organizational transformation through social intrapreneurship initiatives. If you are looking for systemic change through innovative strategy, HR or CSR, apply now.

(e.g., Initiators of Sustainable supply-chain initiatives, Managers of Social Intrapreneurship Programs)

Our 2021 Cohort

Benoît Bonello
Benoît Bonello Social Innovation Director, SUEZ
Gisela Sánchez
Gisela Sánchez Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, BAC LATAM
Maria Pía Robles
Maria Pía Robles Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, FIFCO
Cristina Campos
Cristina Campos Head Integrated Access Program & Markets, NOVARTIS
Godwin Bamsa
Godwin Bamsa External Affairs and Sustainable Business Lead UNILEVER
Juddy Gichuki
Juddy Gichuki Senior Manager, Corporate Strategy SAFARICOM
Ruchika Singhal
Ruchika Singhal Vice President, Global Health, MEDTRONIC LABS
Sharda Gautam
Sharda Gautam Zonal Head-North, TATA TRUSTS
Lisa Neuberger
Lisa Neuberger Managing Director, Strategy & Innovation, ACCENTURE Social and Eco Innovators
Saad Arshad
Saad Arshad Senior Manager Program & Research HABIB BANK
Saulo Di Pizzo
Saulo Di Pizzo Head of Social Innovation & Community Engagement, GIVAUDAN
Agnes Weil
Agnes Weil Director of Sustainability and Philanthropy CLUB MED
Nicola Galombik
Ritesh Agarwal
Ritesh Agarwal Assistant Vice President EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVES
Garance Wattez-Richard
Garance Wattez-Richard CEO, AXA Emerging Customers
Salah Goss
Salah Goss Senior Vice President Center for Inclusive Growth, Mastercard


The Unusual Pioneers
Program Tracks

We are offering two program tracks to cater to the needs of both early-stage and experienced social intrapreneurs. Depending on your experience and development stage, receive tailored support by applying to the Full Growth Track or the Fast Track.

01Full Growth Journey

  • 6-month ExperienceCome onboard for 5 program weeks, which represent 20 working days of personalized support to your initiative.
  • Growth JourneyValidate and scale your solution, work on organizational readiness and grow as a leader. Learn and execute, build a network and grow your reach.
  • Expert SupportGet support from a dedicated experience with a tailored mix of coaching, training and practical mentoring by sector and industry experts. Get insights from experienced social intrapreneurs to leapfrog your initiative.

02Fast Track

  • Global NetworkJoin relevant events that build your network, grow your reach, and expose you to the social intrapreneurs community and key partners.
  • “Pick and Choose” ModelAttend modules and mentoring sessions that deepen your knowledge and support you through the key challenges you are facing.
  • Peer to Peer ExchangeCollaborate with other seasoned social intrapreneurs to grow your ideas, share insights and receive implementation support.
The Unusual Pioneers Executive Circle 2021

The Executive Circle supports Corporate Leaders in driving their organization’s transformation towards purpose leadership. It is closely tied to the intrapreneurs’ program experience and engages their Executives with exclusive top-level events to share and learn from global purpose leaders.

The Team

Our diverse team covers four continents and 12+ countries in a network organization of dedicated professionals. For each project, we hand-pick experts to maximize impact.

Lisa Guggenmos
Lisa Guggenmos Program Lead Unusual Pioneers Senior Director, Yunus Social Business
Rodrigo Alarcón
Rodrigo Alarcón Program Manager Unusual Pioneers, Yunus Social Business
Paulina Remmel
Paulina Remmel Communications Manager Unusual Pioneers, Yunus Social Businesss
Shiv Verkaran
Shiv Verkaran Corporate Social Innovation Lead, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship
Saskia Bruysten
Saskia Bruysten Co-Founder and CEO, Yunus Social Business
Daniel Nowack
Daniel Nowack Managing Director, Yunus Social Business
François Bonnici
François Bonnici Head of Schwab Foundation, Social Entrepreneurship
Beate Rosenthal
Beate Rosenthal Executive Advisor, Yunus Social Business
Ruby Frankland
Ruby Frankland Communications Manager, Yunus Social Business