Group photo of participants of the 2018 Zero Project Impact Transfer Forum

Zero Project Impact Transfer


Claudia Werneck, Georg Schoen and Pedro Prata standing in front of Zero Project Impact Transfer signs

Georg Schoen of Ashoka with Claudia Werneck and Pedro Prata of Escola de Gente at the inaugural Zero Project Impact Transfer Forum

While great business ideas tend to go global quickly to serve clients and customers around the world, important social innovations all too often remain local or national. Many of the ideas and the entrepreneurs behind them have the potential for global expansion, but the social sector lacks a process for transferring these innovations successfully.

This is where the Zero Project meets Ashoka – the leading global organization promoting social entrepreneurship and supporting over 3,600 social entrepreneurs in 80 countries. The Essl Foundation has enjoyed a long relationship with Ashoka, and in particular with Ashoka Austria. Ashoka Austria´s Impact Transfer initiative focuses on supporting the international replication of proven social innovations where they are in demand by local stakeholders.

Melissa Malzkuhn

Melissa Malzkuhn of Gallaudet University presenting her pitch

The Essl Foundation and Ashoka have combined their respective expertise and have initiated the first Impact Transfer programme to support the internationalization of innovative disability solutions for a barrier-free world. Each year, ten initiatives are selected for the Zero Project–Impact Transfer programme. Application for the programme is open to projects that have been successfully shortlisted for a Zero Project Award and that have the potential and ambition to scale-up their impact.

Over the course of the programme, the selected initiatives receive training, mentoring, tailored support, networking, and visibility to further replicate their innovation and impact in other geographies, in collaboration with local replication partners. The goal is to make these initiatives ready for replication, to connect them with relevant replication partners, and to further support the replication through our Alumni Community.

“It’s high time for a systematic matchmaking between the most outstanding innovators and the Zero Project partners who can take them internationally.”

Martin Essl

Martin Essl, Founder and President, Essl Foundation

Martin Essl, Founder and President, Essl Foundation

“It is very exciting for Ashoka to be working with the Zero Project, bringing together some of the world´s strongest social entrepreneurs for disability and spreading their ideas globally – thus further empowering those who are differently abled to be real change-makers!”

Bill Drayton, Founder and CEO, Ashoka

Overview of the supported projects in 2017/2018