Paragon Fellowship

From 2008-10 FYSE implemented the Paragon fellowship for young entrepreneurs across Asia.

The Paragon fellowship empowered Asia’s next generation of social entrepreneurs to accelerate their impact. It grew a community of young, dynamic role models which became ambassadors for youth entrepreneurship by leading successful ventures. By promoting those entrepreneurs FYSE inspired more young people to become entrepreneurs to escape the cycle of poverty and unemployment.

The Issue

38m young people aged 15-24 in East and South Asia were without work in 2003 and the number is increasing. Too few young Asians, despite facing severe unemployment, consider entrepreneurship as a career choice. This youth unemployment leads to poverty and causes immense social challenges for society.

Fostering youth entrepreneurship has emerged as a solution, but the intention among Asians to become entrepreneurs is very low (Japan 3%; Malaysia 5%) and very few young people in Asia actually start their own business (2.9% in China, 2009; 0.18% in Indonesia, 2008). Young Asians are interested, but will not start their own business because of a perceived lack of training and funding, and the lack of entrepreneurial role models.

Our Solution

The Paragon fellowship identified and nurtured 100 high potential young social entrepreneurs up to 30 years of age from Asia Pacific who utilized innovative approaches to generate a significant measurable impact on their communities and promoted their work to inspire youth to become social innovators. By promoting those entrepreneurs we inspired more young people to become entrepreneurs to escape the cycle of poverty and unemployment.

It provided a platform of opportunities for fellows to improve their business and personal skills:

  • Tools and Training: incl. pitching training and introduction to investors to attract funding and intensive workshop will focus on insights and tools for accelerating and scaling innovations.
  • Global & National Expertise: incl. Executive Coaching by Business Leaders and distinguished Social Entrepreneurs and Business Consulting regarding their business model, planning etc.
  • Network & Civic Support: incl. peer- learning with like-minded entrepreneurs from all over the region and visibility and profiling through Paragon website, profiling on partner websites, advertisements with our media partner and press coverage.

Impact in numbers:

Further information and fellow profiles at