Short contribution

Hi, a short contribution for 2 things:

  1. Adding a crowdsourcing resource that I think is not included in the list:  It is the normal crowsourcing plattform, but it includes innovative features, like non-monetary contributions and describing a lot of “returns” the project is producing. It puts an emphasis on the commons.

  2. Telling about our experience with Ashoka, that we contacted to ask for support. They specialice in supporting social entrepreneurs, and have a long experience doing it. This is, apparently, good and bad. On the good side, they have resources and a very powerful network that, combined with the financial support they give to entrepreneurs (up to 3 years of salary to concentrate in his/her project), can have a very positive effect. They have also quite streamlined and stable processes for the selection of candidates.

But this could also be their weak point. In my case, it took very long till they considered our request. First we contacted them through the Mexico organization, through one of our allies that have done several projects with them. By the time they answered, almost 8 months later, we had already contacted the Spanish organization.

The Spanish Ashoka team took its time to react (I think they evaluate new proposals twice a year, which means a 3 months time delay). After providing quite a lot of information about the project and exchanging several e-mails, we had a Skype call with one of the responsibles. It was quite nice, and gave us the opportunity to explain many things. They showed interest. On the bad side, that several small details made us think that they had not been really reading (with proper care) the e-mails we sent them, nor the documentation. Probably they have a lot of candidates and need to optimise the time, but… well, it is not the best.

At the end of the call was the moment when they told us that they needed to see results, proof that the model was working, before considering supporting us. They had interest in the project, and were willing to stay in touch, but they considered it to be still “too immature”.

This is ok. And is perfectly consistent with the procedures of Ashoka. This is the way they have been conducing their business for many years, quite successfully. But we have the impression that this can be too rigid to be able to capture web innovation, where the drivers of grow can get activated very quickly. If they wait to see success before they support… well, maybe they will be arriving too late, and their support is no longer needed. Or the alternative: a project that with their support would have been successful… will not reach that point.

So… our experience was good. But all the time we spent preparing documentation… would probably have been better used doing “real work”.

Lesson: do not contact Ashoka till you have something very solid.



Too immature!

Hello Pedro. Thanks for this second mission report.

The amount of paperwork required by funding organisations is impressive. It takes months to fill their questionnaires. And sometimes it takes years to fill their requirements. And even went prerequisite are met, they invent new reasons for rejection that are not defined in their procedures. I asked to see these lists, because the answers I received did not make any sense.

Too immature” hey? Humm, I have heard this before… I have been told by the government of Quebec that the entire world social media is “too immature”, as their main reason for rejection of an online participative platform project.

Too immature… and not credible, actually.

I am glad I you wrote this mission report. It’s interesting to see that the same risk aversion answers get carried away from one country to another.

There are other answers, like “you are too good”. Or “we don’t know how to manage you”. But these usually come at the next level of interviews.

Too mature, their mindset? :slight_smile:

Hi Lyne, thanks for your comment.

Yes, it is shocking to see that in a moment where most institutions praise innovation and the web as “the” sources for hope… mistrust and risk aversion still dominate their practices. Ashoka is the organization that coined the term “social entrepreneur” many years ago, and in general it seems to be quite agile, and have been running interesting “competitions” at

But it is surprising that they are somehow “too mature” to understand and embrace 21st century’s new forms of social innovation. For example, they were able to say something like: “we are not worried to arrive late with our support”, not recognizing that nowadays “to arrive late” usually means “to arrive TOO late”. :frowning:

So… right now, it’s better to plan the projects to start without any support (appart from the F, F, F that Alberto mentioned (Family, Friends and Fools). Invest the scarce time and energies in creating prototypes and working models… instead of wasting it trying to sell the idea to some “investor”. Let’s hope in the future there will be some small scale funding that supports the first steps of innovative proposals.

Lyne, I’m happy to be that the EdgeRyders platform is becoming more solid and easy to use (as little bugs are being fixed).

Kind regards, Pedro

Platform booming

The Edgeryders platform has become increasingly friendly. I must say that with the new ‘hello’ device, it has become really attractive. It is booming with activity now! We have come a long way since last November.

“Sorry but you’re too ahead of your time”

Hey Pedro, thanks for sharing this. I haven’t dealt with any of the usual sources of social venture funding but I do recall two encounters with the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems. In the one situation I was involved in a startup that a friend wanted help securing funding for. To be honest I was sceptical about the project and told the person that the numbers simply didn’t add up, that the market for their project simply didn’t exist in Sweden as the population is simply too small and they were up against much bigger and heavily bankrolled internationally successful project. There wasn’t even a prototype to show. In the second case I was involved in setting up a project which had  alot of potential and had already been prototyped successfully- so there was something we wanted to continue building on as opposed to in the first case.

Guess which one was supported? While the second did very well and continues to be built on, the former was a total failure other than to launch the founder’s career as a speaker and webguru. And that started to get me thinking, and asking questions :slight_smile:

A friend of mine is currently exploring the changing face of philanthropy, how the ways in which we are supporting good work is changing. He is doing this in the US. I thought exploring what avenues of support there are for people at the Edge or just past it in Europe might be worthwhile…I’m going to be sending out an email askig the same questions of more people. Let’s see what comes up!

Asking, asking asking…

Hi Nadia, let’s not stop asking the right questions :-)… because at some moment we will start getting the right answers.

Maybe we are even already starting to get them.

It’s for sure worthwhile to keep asking… and let’s see what comes up!


I would like to see more of these. I think we’ll collect two or three, thenreally push it out and invite people to add their experience to yours…


Nice to see that this can be useful, from your perspective.

We are in touch!

Will we meet at the #lote in Strasbourg?

Hi Pedro,

Great post and thanks for sharing the experience! I have been talking to both public and private donors, national and international decision makers intensively in the last few years to change the way they support innovation. With the upcoming lote conference we have a powerful group of people coming together who can and will push that change forward.

Are you coming to the #lote in Strasbourg in mid June? If so, plse sign up to the Making a living session (if you haven’t done it yet) through this link:

Here you can see the list of ppl attending:

We are now elaborating the session to bring the most of out of it so you are very much welcome to join the session.

we will

Thanks, Gyula,

I’ll be at the conference, and I’m sure we will have the opportunity to talk about these things. But I am leading the “We, the people” session and… haven’t still found the way to split in two! :smiley:



Splitting into two :slight_smile:

Glad you are leading the ‘We, the people’ session! We’ll use your experience and might come back with some short online questions though – even if you are not taking part in the offline session. So what is our motto for today then? ‘We, the people want to Make a Living’ :slight_smile: