Yunus Social Business and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship partner to support social intrapreneurs in their quest to transform corporations

Nobel Peace Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus’ organisation Yunus Social Business, together with partners at the World Economic Forum’s Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and the Porticus Foundation, have launched an ambitious platform to bring ‘corporate social intrapreneurs’ together to learn from each other and scale. It’s called the Unusual Pioneers.

BERLIN, June 09, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Using the resources, expertise, and assets of the company, dedicated employees are developing solutions to social and environmental problems —with a business model at their heart. These “social intrapreneurs” take on an entrepreneurial role within their company and, with the CEO’s blessing, they are creating social businesses, which are 100% focused on solving a societal problem and reinvesting profits. The Unusual Pioneers is a platform created solely to support these social intrapreneurs.

“Large corporations are finally feeling the pressure to do better for the societies they serve. But it's a movement coming from their employees. We started researching these emerging social intrapreneurs, and found that the single most important thing we could provide them with is a platform to connect with each other. When you are doing something against the grain, it’s so important to know there are others out there like you,” said Saskia Bruysten, CEO & Co-Founder at Yunus Social Business.

“Citizens, activists and young people are crying out for strong action, requiring complex changes within businesses. We have seen this call answered by a committed group of social innovators acting as internal agents of change. These social intrapreneurs develop new products, services, and business models that create value both for society and their companies in ways that are built to last, while striving for the internal changes needed towards realising stakeholder capitalism,” said François Bonnici, Head of Social Innovation at the World Economic Forum and Director of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

The Unusual Pioneers cohort will be led through an extensive curriculum, peer-to-peer exchange and mentoring to scale their initiatives with the help of partner organisations including Acumen, Impact Hub, The UNDP’s Business Call to Action, Fundaçao Dom Cabral, League of Intrapreneurs, Craigberoch Business Decelerator and many more. See the full cohort of the corporate social intrapreneurs announced today at Global Intrapreneur Week by Prof. Muhammad Yunus:

Cristina Campos, Integrated Access Program & Market Lead at Novartis. Working on transforming health on lower income populations, the initiative provides access to quality healthcare and medicines in South Asia & Central America.

Ruchika told us, “I’m at a company that has the resources, the capabilities, the talent and the ideas. If we don’t step up to solve these challenges and play a meaningful role, who will?”

Garance Wattez-Richards is CEO of AXA Emerging Customers, a business she founded that provides insurance products aimed at low-income communities. Established in 2016, they cover over 22 million people across the world, ranging from migrants, small retail merchants, smallholder farmers, gig economy workers, etc.

Agnes Weil - Social Impact Director at Club Med. Club Med are buying from local farmers who live in the proximity to their resorts and thereby helping to reduce poverty and protect the local environment. They are already working in six countries and have been highlighted as a best practice by the World Tourism Organisation of the UN.

The cohort also includes:

  • Gisela Sanchez, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at FIFCO.
  • Cristina Campos, Integrated Access Program & Market Lead at Novartis.
  • Lisa Neuberger, Managing Director, Strategy & Innovation at Accenture.
  • Benoit Bonello, Social Innovation Director at Suez.
  • Juddy Gichuki, Senior Manager, Corporate Strategy at Safaricom.
  • Saad Arshad, Senior Manager Program & Research at HBL Habib Bank.
  • Saulo Di Pizzo, Head of Social Innovation & Community Engagement at Givaudan.
  • Sharda Gautam, Head Crafts at Tata Trusts.
  • Ritesh Agarwal, Senior Manager, Growth & Partnerships at Educational Initiatives.
  • Nicola Galombik, Executive Director at Yellowwoods Ventures Investments
  • Salah Goss, Senior Vice President, Global Markets Humanitarian & Developmen at Mastercard.

About Yunus Social Business

Yunus Social Business (YSB) believes in the power of business to end poverty, a model pioneered by our co-founder, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus. YSB has supported or invested in more than 2000 social entrepreneurs worldwide to build meaningful social businesses in agriculture, health, education, mobility, clean water, and energy. They 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. Founded in 2011, YSB has headquarters in Berlin and is led by co-founder and CEO Saskia Bruysten. For more information visit

About Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, sister organization of the World Economic Forum, is a leading global platform that accelerates outstanding models of social innovation. Every year, the Schwab Foundation, awards outstanding social innovation models through four categories: Corporate Social Intrapreneurship, Social Entrepreneurs, Public Social Intrapreneurs and Social Innovation Thought Leader. The awardees accelerate their impact through a strong collaboration with the World Economic Forum and its platforms. Founded in 1998 by Professor Klaus Schwab and Hilde Schwab, it is chaired by Hilde Schwab and led by Dr François Bonnici, Director, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship The Foundation involves a community of over 400 change-leaders who have impacted the lives of over 622 million people in over 190 countries. For more information visit

Media Contact for Yunus Social Business
Ruby Frankland
Yunus Social Business

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

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