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Semi-finalists selected in European Commission Social Innovation Competition

Author: European Commission
Published Date: 22 July 2015

30 organisations with ideas of ‘New Ways to Grow’ in Europe in the running for three €50,000 prizes

Today, 30 semi-finalists have been selected out of over 1,400 applicants in the 2015 edition of the European Social Innovation Competition. This year’s theme ‘New Ways to Grow’ saw the judges select entries with the potential to increase growth and sustain not only financial value, but also social progress for citizens, government and enterprises alike.

Applications from over 40 countries highlight the social issues that are major concerns for many Europeans. Top of the agenda were ideas to promote inclusion, education and youth, employment, health and ageing, climate change, food waste and the environment. See the 2015 Competition semi-finalist announcement here: http://bit.ly/EUSIC2015

Semi-finalists range from ideas like transforming bio waste from canteens and restaurants into biogas, creating employment whilst benefiting the environment, to accessible beekeeping for wheelchair users or those who are less mobile.

This year, 20% of applications came from Italy, 9% from Spain, 8% from Romania, and 7% each from the UK and Poland.

Kaat Peeters, jury member for the 2015 Competition and General Manager of The Social Innovation Factory said: “Implementing a social innovation idea can be challenging, but this competition is a platform where anyone with a great idea can have the chance to make their mark and change the way our economies and societies operate and interact through social innovation. At Sociale InnovatieFabriek in Belgium we work with these types of organisations, and it's inspiring to see that people and organisations from all over Europe have such a variety of creative and entrepreneurial ideas to help solve the social issues that affect us all.”

All semi-finalists will receive tailored mentoring and support to give them the best possible chance in the Competition and beyond. The social innovation academy is to be held from 7-9 September in Vienna at Magdas Hotel, a finalist of the first ever Competition in 2013 that provides employment opportunities to refugees and asylum seekers in Austria.

Anna Fiscale, jury member and winner of last year’s Competition with Progetto Quid said: “I’m excited to be part of the Competition this year and energized by the quality of the applications. The semi-finalists can look forward to the mentoring stage, something I found immensely enriching last year. It helped us identify our goals and structure an effective business plan, and continues to help attract investment and partnerships. 

“We’ve come a long way since the competition. A social cooperative that reuses fabric waste, we now employ 19 disadvantaged women and have formed partnerships with some of Italy’s top fashion brands. I hope the same support that we received will drive and motivate this year’s applicants to achieve their own successes.”

Following the academy, ten finalists will be selected by the jury and the three most effective projects will each receive €50,000 to kick start their social progress at the awards ceremony in Brussels in November 2015.

For full details please visit: bit.ly/EUSIC2015

Read about each idea here: http://www.nesta.org.uk/european-social-innovation-competition-semi-finalists

Follow us on Twitter: @EUSocialInnov #diogochallenge