Beiersdorf and Ashoka Join Forces to Fight COVID-19 Consequences

Beiersdorf and Ashoka Join Forces to Fight COVID-19 Consequences

  • The new partnership strives to support innovative social entrepreneurs who contribute with their ideas to fighting the consequences of the pandemic
  • The cooperation with Ashoka and the funding of social entrepreneurs is an important pillar of Beiersdorf’s €50 million aid program “Care Beyond Skin”

COVID-19 keeps hitting the whole world hard – and its ultimate socioeconomic consequences cannot be foreseen today. Against this background, Beiersdorf launched its global “Care Beyond Skin” aid program with a volume of 50 million euros at the very beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. The program comprises two pillars: Immediate aid such as the production and donation of one million liters of disinfectant to hospitals and health care professionals around the world, and long-term support to fight the pandemic’s consequences. Among the long-term initiatives, Beiersdorf is now setting up partnerships with international NGOs to provide sustainable medium- and long-term support to vulnerable communities who have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19. Ashoka, with a specific focus on supporting social entrepreneurs, has now been chosen to receive substantial funding. Innovators with a social mission are vital first responders to the COVID-19 crisis and uniquely positioned to pioneer a new approach for today’s change leaders and governments.

“Entrepreneurship and innovation are embedded in our company DNA – and they are also the idea driving Ashoka. Ashoka is seeking to tackle the world’s social issues with the ideas of individual citizens that can be scaled up to a broader level. The aim of our collaboration is to fund innovative solutions that tackle the socioeconomic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to foster positive change and provide our support across the countries and regions that need it most,” explains Stefan De Loecker, Chief Executive Officer of Beiersdorf AG.

Ashoka and Beiersdorf to expand “Changemakers United” initiative
Ashoka is considered one of the most innovative NGOs in the world and the world’s largest network in the context of social entrepreneurship: It aims to give social innovators and their ideas access to funding, strategic support and networks that help to scale and professionalize, as they often don’t have all necessary resources at hand. 

In the midst of the pandemic, in April 2020 Ashoka launched the innovative approach of the “Changemakers United” initiative, which was brought to life in a first step for the European region. This is a digital program to support and promote social entrepreneurs whose ideas and ventures aim specifically at reducing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – for instance, protecting the elderly from isolation, taking care of the increasing number of victims of domestic violence, or innovative solutions to help with homeschooling. With the help of Beiersdorf funding, Ashoka is now able to expand their “Changemakers United” initiative beyond Europe to Africa, Latin America, and South Asia. More than 80 social innovators will be reached and supported across these regions. The upcoming “Ashoka Changemaker Summit” on November 17-19, 2020 will be an important event in this context to intensify collaboration and achieve visibility. On the first summit day, the “Changemakers United” initiative will be presented. The session can be joined by anyone who is interested to learn more about it via this link.

Special funding for selected social innovators
For selected social entrepreneurs within the Ashoka network, Beiersdorf will provide additional funding to enable specifically innovative projects that address the consequences of the pandemic. In close cooperation with Ashoka, Beiersdorf will choose these social innovators from the “Changemakers United” initiative in the coming weeks. “We also want to support on an individual level and have decided to choose specific social innovators that convince us with their approach and contribute to our CSR engagement focus area on the especially vulnerable group of adolescent girls,” explains Stefan De Loecker.

Marie Ringler, Director of Ashoka Europe, is delighted to have Beiersdorf as a new partner: “Social entrepreneurs are the engine that drives social innovations. But they often lack access to important resources and networks. This has been especially so during these times of COVID-19, in which many countries’ socioeconomic problems have further increased. Together with Beiersdorf, we will be able to support where help is most urgently needed – and roll out effective solutions on a broad scale based on the innovative ideas of our social entrepreneurs.”

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