Feb 24, 2018
Zhihan Lee, group chief executive officer and founder of BagoSphere, was one of the 3 newly-inducted social entrepreneurs to Ashoka on 21 February 2018.
The newest additions to the elite group are Zhihan Lee, CEO of BagoSphere; Amina Evangelista Swanepoel, founding executive director of Roots of Health; and Bai Rohaniza Mateo Sumndad-Usman, founding president of Teach Peace Build Peace Movement.
In the Philippines, the 3 inductees this year are recognized for their work in livelihood education, health, and peace-building.
Ashoka was founded in 1980 by Bill Drayton, who is devoted to supporting a community of high-impact problem solvers. In over 30 years, there are only over 3,500 Ashoka Fellows in 93 different countries, making it an elite group of social movers who strive to create system-changing solutions for the world’s most urgent social problems.
Ashoka has one of the toughest and most meticulous selection process. The fellows are chosen after extensive research, interviews, and local and international evaluations. Ashoka is known for recognizing talent before they reach global recognition, some of them winning the Nobel Peace Prize and others recognized by the Ramon Magsaysay Awards.
BagoSphere, a social enterprise which began in 2012 in Bago City, Negros Occidental, provides the youth with immersive and impactful programs. Its headquarters is in the city of Bacolod in Negros Occidental province, and has expanded its efforts in Metro Manila.
BagoSphere, aims to help people, who struggle to find employment, with an education focused on communication, soft skills and job training that are in-demand. The enterprise has several investors and one of them is Kickstart, a Globe subsidiary in the Philippines. Subsequently, one of Globe’s major shareholders is Singtel, a Singapore telecommunications company.
BagoSphere’s flagship program, ASCEND, is a two-month job preparatory course. It is built on a highly immersive and interactive curriculum that allows the simultaneous learning of the English language and content such as digital skills and financial literacy. The program also matches students with employers, to ensure that they have a head-start in their careers. 93% of BagoSphere graduates are employed within three months from graduation.
According to Lee, “I see the Ashoka Fellowship and the braintrust that it has convened to help us accelerate BagoSphere’s plan to scale up, so that instead of taking 25 years to reach our vision of impacting 1 million youth, it will just take 10.”
BagoSphere is a faster, smarter way for disconnected youth to launch transformational careers. BagoSphere does this by revolutionizing support for “last-mile education”. By taking a lean approach, BagoSphere deconstructs what employers need, run immersive, experiential training programs and connects students directly with employers; simplifying the experience from enrolment to being hired. Currently, BagoSphere pipelines new sources of talents to some of the world’s top outsourcing companies, like Teleperformance, Transcom and Panasiatic. Since January 2013, BagoSphere has graduated over 1,000 graduates, of which 85% have been hired.