EU Social Innovation competition

Marco Zappalorto | 14 Novembre 2013

Last Friday we launched in Milan the second edition of the EU Social Innovation Competition – The Job Challenge in memory of Diogo Vasconcelos.

Like the previous edition, the European Commission is offering 3 prizes of 20,000 each to social innovations that have a real impact on helping unemployed people get jobs or creating new opportunities for work by, for instance:

§  increasing the number of unemployed people who move into work;

§  increasing the earnings of un- or under-employed people;

§  increasing the employment of disadvantaged or marginalized groups (e.g. young people, over 50s, people with disabilities, working mothers);

§  increasing the number of people becoming self-employed or starting their own businesses.


Last year 605 entries were received from all over Europe. 30 semi-finalists were invited to a Social Innovation Academyin Amsterdam to support the development of their ideas. 10 finalists were selected and eventually 3 winnerswere awarded by President Barroso on 29 May 2013 in Brussels. You can take a look at the semi-finalists, finalists and winners from the previous edition on the competition platform.


This year, the competition was officially launched by Carlo Pettinelli, Director at the EU Commission together with the ten finalists of the previous edition of the competition.

The entries will be judged on 3 main criteria:

§  degree of innovation assessed  in a given context of the proposed idea; of the approach and solution to a socio-economic or environmental issue; of the proposed product, service, process, technology implied by this solution; or of the business, implementation, organization or marketing models underpinning this solution – innovations can be understood as genuinely new ideas as much as new or improved ways to implement, combine, or adapt to a different context or target group existing solutions;

§  potential impact assessed as the potential of the idea to help people move towards work or create new types of work;

§  potential for sustainability and scale assessed as the likeliness that projects can be sustained and have significant, long-lasting and increasing impact and as their capacity to be inspirational for others in Europe – e.g. to be applied/transferred/adapted to another area of the same country, to another or more EU Member State(s), to another issue and to another population category.

Strong mentoring support and numerous networking opportunities will be organized by the European Commission for the semi-finalists and finalists of the competition to support the development of their ideas.

The focus of the competition closely links with the work that Nesta is doing on innovation in jobs and the Making it Work report published last year by Nesta.  We are really excited about being part of this project and we do believe that it’s fantastic that the EU Commission is focusing the second edition of the competition once again on new ways of creating to address such a social pain in Europe like lack of employment.

Deadline for applications is 11 December 2013 so help promoting this competition to get numerous and ground-breaking entries!

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