Ten European social entrepreneurs compete for three €50,000 prizes
The 2015 finalists for the European Social Innovation Competition have been named from a shortlist of 30 and a total of over 1,400 applicants from 40 countries. This year’s competition looked specifically for ideas that would promote ‘New Ways to Grow’ across European society. The idea behind the competition is to create and enable new kinds of economic growth that can create systemic change and a positive impact on society. The shortlisted ideas have the potential to bring value to individuals, communities, countries and entire regions, and reflect the issues and concerns at the heart of many Europeans’ lives. The innovations aim to create solutions and respond to concerns such as our ageing population, food waste, sustainable production, organic farming, and accessibility.
The finalists come from Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia and Poland, and their ideas reflect the creativity of a generation of Europeans who have lived through boom and bust and have a vision to innovate to create a more sustainable growth model.
The 30 semi-finalists attended a mentoring academy in Vienna in September where they worked with experts in social innovation to refine their ideas and develop their business plan before pitching to the jury. The jury is made up of successful social innovators from around Europe, who critically evaluate the strength of each organisation’s business plan and have selected the 10 strongest entries.
Jury member and Ashoka Country Director for Poland Agata Stafiej-Bartosik commented: “I think I can speak for everyone involved when I say that selecting just 10 finalists was tough – we were inspired by the quality of the semi-finalists and by the drive and vision they demonstrated with their proposals. It’s fantastic to see that people are innovating all around Europe, these projects have real potential to create sustainable growth and a positive future. Congratulations to all the finalists.”
Gabriela Sonnleitner, CEO of Magdas Social Business reflects: “It was a real pleasure to host the mentoring academy at our hotel in Vienna. We too were selected as finalists for the competition in 2013 – we didn’t win but the journey and support that we got from the competition really helped us to get where we are today – a thriving social business providing employment opportunities for refugees. The European Social Innovation Competition is about identifying great ideas, not all of them will win but being selected as a semi-finalist or finalist is a fantastic achievement. Keep going – your organisations can and will change the world, little by little and there is a network out there all across Europe ready to support you.”
The ten finalists will pitch for their chance to win one of three €50,000 prizes on at the awards ceremony on the 25th November in Brussels. To sign-up to attend the event please visit: bit.ly/EUSICawards
Meet the finalists
Apiform – Sit-in beekeeping (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
De Landgenoten (Belgium)
Mela Wear (Germany)
Samaritan Mobile Care Complex (Latvia)
Smart Hearing Aid (Croatia)
The Freebird Club (Ireland)
The Social Good Vending Machine (Poland)
About the European Social Innovation Competition
The European Social Innovation Competition, launched in memory of Diogo Vasconcelos, is a challenge prize run by the European Commission across all European countries, now in its third year. The 2015 competition is themed around ‘New Ways to Grow’, and seeks to use social innovation to pave the way for more sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe.