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 fifth time and has the theme ‘Equality Rebooted’.

Equality Rebooted

Maker: Georgios Marinakis


2012 - 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, Matter&Co, Shipyard and Impact Hub. The first edition of the competition was launched on the 1st of October 2012 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++2016 finalistsYou can find the finalists of 2016 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.

2017: Equality Rebooted

The competition has a different societally relevant Together we want to build a future in which inclusivity and equality of opportunity are central. To achieve this new, innovative and creative approaches are needed.theme each year. Last year, the theme was Integrated Futures and in 2015 New Ways to Grow. This year, the competition’s focus is the increasing inequality that results from technological developments++David Rothman“Income inequality hinders economic opportunity and innovation” David Rothman writes in MIT Technology Review. Read the article here. . Digitisation and automation are changing both our economy and job market at a rapid pace, which has considerable and far-reaching consequences for our current and future way of life and work.

The share of the high-tech industry and the digital sector in the current economy has increased in the last decades, and this is expected to increase even more in the near future. This growing value of specialised knowledge creates prosperity for a select group of people with the necessary skills. However, the gap widens between people who can profit from this growth and people who do not have the knowledge nor skills to participate. Not everyone has the necessary means, or has the same opportunities to benefit from this development. This results in a rising income inequality, which we can already see happening right now++Technological progressThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) shows in research from 2007 that technological progress is the main contributor to the growing income inequality..

Together we want to build a future in which inclusivity and equality of opportunity++Inclusivity and equality of opportunityPromoting inclusivity and equality of opportunity are central themes in Kennisland’s projects. For more information look at the projects Accelerating Amsterdam’s Assets and the social lab projects. are central. To achieve this new, innovative and creative approaches are needed. Initiatives that offer opportunities for everyone and that equip people with the necessary skills such as creativity, a critical mindset and digital literacy++Digital literacyDoug Belshaw is a specialist on digital literacy. For more information about him and his work see his TEDx presentation on this subject., in order for them to be able to participate fully in this progress.

This is not an easy task, but fortunately entrepreneurial people, collectives and organisations are actively searching for new, effective 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 MadridKennisland is responsible for the substantive organisation of the Social Innovation Academy that will take place in Madrid. 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++2016 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.