European Social Innovation Competition

The European Social Innovation Competition promotes and supports social innovation in Europe. This year, the competition will take place for the sixth time and has the theme ‘RE:THINK LOCAL’.

Tijdens het EUSIC Launch event

Het thema van de European Social Innovation Competition is RE:THINK LOCAL.

Maker: Brett Walsh


2013 - 2017

The European Social Innovation Competition is an initiative of the DG Growth of the European Commission, and is organised by Kennisland in cooperation with Nesta, Ashoka, ENoLL en Scholz & Friends. The first edition of the competition was launched on the 1st of October 2013 in Lisbon, in memory of Diogo Vasconcelos++Diogo VasconcelosDiogo was one of the forerunners in Europe in the field of social innovation. Read more. The competition promotes and supports social innovation in Europe and provides a platform for leading European innovators to support new initiatives, help them develop further and learn from each other.

The Competition

The goal of the European Social Innovation Competition is to help social innovation initiatives develop further and realise their potential. Out of all the applications, thirty semi-finalists will be chosen by a jury. They will participate in the Social Innovation Academy in a European city. During this three-day programme, participants will have coaching sessions and workshops and will be able to learn from colleagues from other countries. Of these semi-finalists the jury will choose ten finalists++2017 finalistsYou can find the finalists of 2017 here., of which three projects will eventually receive a price of € 50,000 each at the award ceremony in Brussels. In the spirit of continuous progress, all the semi-finalists of the last edition have a chance to win an additional impact prize of € 50,000 one year later. This prize is based on the impact they have realised since their participation in the Social Innovation Academy.


The competition has a different socially relevant theme each year. Last year, the theme was Equality Rebooted and in 2016 Integrated Futures. This year, the competition’s focus is improving local chances for youth in a changing economyLocal, new, innovative and creative initiatives that offer opportunities for youth, restore and stimulate local economic activities and react to economic and technical developments are needed. .

Youth unemployment++Youth unemploymentRead Eurostat’s statistics of youth unemployment from 2000 to 2018 here. currently stands at 16.7 percent in the European Union, more than double the overall rate among the adult population++More than double the overall rateUnemployment among youth is more common than among adults. Read Eurostat’s full report here, published in July 2017.. In addition to those who are officially unemployed, a further number of young people aged up to 35 are in precarious work, underemployed or suffer from in-work poverty++Precarious work, underemployment and in-work povertyAs written in a report about youth employment in 2017, by the International Labour Organization.
. More and more young people have an insecure or unpredictable beginning of their working lives. At the same time, there are also a lot of chances to do something about youth unemployment. We experience advantages of technological developments and discover new ways of working. For instance the possibility to open your laptop and start working, no matter where you are (flexible working). These trends influence the economy and could contribute to a smart, sustainable and inclusive local society.

However, to achieve this local, new, innovative and approaches are needed. Initiatives that offer opportunities for youth, restore and stimulate local economic activities and react to economic and technical developments. This way, these initiatives contribute to youth resilience and opportunities for youth in a local economy.

This is not an easy task, but fortunately entrepreneurial people, collectives and organisations are actively searching for new, effective and local approaches all over Europe. Engaging in new collaborations and the sharing of knowledge is therefore paramount in order to make the most of this collective effort.

Social Innovation Academy

Kennisland is responsible for the substantive organisation of the Social Innovation Academy that will take place in ClujKennisland is responsible for the substantive organisation of the Social Innovation Academy that will take place in Cluj. this July. This academy consists of a three-day programme that is aimed at improving or further developing the participants initiatives. The thirty semi-finalists++2017 semi-finalistsView the profiles of last year’s semi-finalists here. will form a learning network and receive instruments and inspiration by participating in workshops, interactive discussions and sessions with experts and other participants.

In these three days, the participants will be working on a range of aspects relevant to their projects. This will, for instance, include trainings in the pitching of ideas, developing a business plan, forming new collaborative partnerships and working on a good team interaction. During interactive sessions with experts, participants will receive feedback on their ideas and approaches. In addition to these content-related meetings, the programme also has an important local aspect. Participants will pay visits to local initiatives, where they will get to know Madrid’s social innovation climate and have an opportunity to improve and grow their network.

More information

You can find more information about the competition here. You can also follow the competition on Twitter via @EUSocialInnov and #diogochallenge.