Unusual Pioneers is a joint programme by Yunus Social Business, Porticus, and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, sister organisation of the World Economic Forum.. The program starts and ends with the World Economic Forum Annual Meetings and takes intrapreneurs and their executives on a journey to impact.
Unusual Pioneers is a joint programme by Yunus Social Business, Porticus, and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, sister organisation of the World Economic Forum.
Yunus Social Business is an organization harnessing the power of business to end poverty through social business — a model pioneered by our co-founder, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus. YSB has supported or invested in over 1,800 social entrepreneurs worldwide to build meaningful social businesses in agriculture, health, education, mobility, clean water, and energy. We also accelerate the transformation of corporations into net ‘people and planet’ positive businesses by applying their core competencies to some of the greatest human challenges.
The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship — the sister organization of the World Economic Forum — is a leading global platform that accelerates outstanding models of social innovation worldwide by highlighting and supporting social innovators in business, government, and civil society.
Porticus manages the philanthropic activities of the Brenninkmeijer family entrepreneurs, collaborating with partners around the globe to foster human dignity, social justice, and sustainability.
The program curriculum is built around three pillars: implementation of initiatives, development of leadership skills, organizational readiness. At the end of the program, participants leave with not only the tangible skills they need to grow and scale their initiative, but also an increased capacity to innovate, lead, and navigate the internal dynamics of the organization. The ultimate benefit goes beyond the current initiative as participants return to their host organization with skills that can be applied more broadly, whether that’s on a future social initiative or other innovative ideas within the company.
A Social Intrapreneur is an entrepreneurial employee who develops a profitable new product, service, or business model that creates value for society and her company. Social intrapreneurs help their employers meet sustainability commitments and create value for customers and communities in ways that are built to last. We see two general approaches to social intrapreneurship, and intrapreneurs across either category are welcome to apply:
All applicants must submit an online application, followed by interviews with the program team. We are looking for intrapreneurs that meet the following criteria:
Applications are open and currently live on www.unusualpioneers.com. Decisions are made on a rolling basis, so applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early
The program brings social intrapreneurs together in 5 program weeks over the course of eight months. Intrapreneurs will get a chance to exchange with peers who have walked the same path and connect with executives that support social intrapreneurs within their companies.
The curriculum covers 14 deep-dive modules across three key topic pillars:
We work with each intrapreneur to set and work towards specific goals for the program duration based on exactly where they are with their initiative, where they most need to grow, but each intrapreneur can expect to come out with the following:
During the program, intrapreneurs will interact with two types of mentors
The price of the ‘Full Growth Journey’ is 38.000 € (net of VAT). The price of the ‘Customised Growth Journey’ is between 10.000 - 23.000 € (net of VAT) . Scholarships are granted to SI with demonstrated impact-focus in developing markets and clear intention to drive their parent company’s transformation.
The Executive Circle is a C-level Circle and an integral part of the Unusual Pioneers Program. Within the Executive Circle, board members of the corporate social intrapreneurship initiative participating in the 9 month Unusual Pioneers Program have the opportunity to exchange in an exclusive closed group of peers. The objectives of the circle are threefold:
The Executive Circle is designed for members of the Executive Board of the companies of participating social intrapreneurs. As the objective is to support the acceleration of the social intrapreneurship initiative and the transformation of the participating companies, ideally the CEO her-/himself becomes a member of the Executive Circle. However, the company also can also participate within the Executive Circle with a different executive board member. The participating board member should be part of the global executive board. If the social intrapreneurship initiative is located in a regional unit, a regional executive board member is also welcomed in addition.
There are three half-day Executive Circle meetings planned in parallel to the WEF (May 2021 / Jan. 2022) and SDI (Sept. 2021). Prior to the first Executive Circle Meeting an individual Scoping Session will take place to assess the company’s status of becoming a net positive contributor to people, planet and society. The results will be discussed with the Executive Board and next steps will be aligned to drive the transformation. The participation at the three half-day Executive Meetings and in the Scoping Process is mandatory.
There is a continuous exchange between the social intrapreneur and “her/his” Executive Circle member, since one of the pivotal points of the Unusual Pioneers Program is to generate more top management attention for the social intrapreneur’s initiative. The exchange will include informal exchanges, access to resources and creation of visibility.
Furthermore, there will also be the opportunity for unusual pioneers to exchange with executive circle members from other companies mostly in an informal context. However, a limited number of initiatives will also be presented during the Executive Circle meetings.