Why are we doing this?
2017 Theme: Equality Rebooted
European societies are transforming rapidly due to technological change. Trends such as digitalisation and automation are changing the way we live and work faster than ever before, reshaping the labour market and wider economy in fundamental ways.
Digital/ICT-based businesses, the creative industries, high tech manufacturing, and knowledge-intensive services are creating increasing value for the economy, driving and taking advantage of technological progress. Low tech, labour-intensive manufacturing and routine jobs in service sectors are being disrupted.
What are we doing?
The European Commission is calling on Europeans to ‘reboot’ equality, providing fresh, energetic approaches to digital inclusion, collaborative economy, connectivity and skills development to shape the future labour market.
The competition is looking for innovations in tools, services and models to equip all members of society with the appropriate skills and opportunities they need to be able to compete in a changing economy. Ideas could include, but are not limited to:
New technologies and business models that make the digital economy more inclusive or use collaborative solutions to reduce inequality.
Innovations that empower disadvantaged people to fully participate in the digital economy and gain revenue from employment or entrepreneurship.
Initiatives that equip those at risk of being shut out of the labour market with the appropriate skills to shape the knowledge economy, such as creativity, communication or problem-solving.
Solutions to protect and support low wage/skilled workers in the evolving labour market.
The competition is open to entrepreneurs, social innovators, students, designers, makers, tech enthusiasts, educators, individuals, groups and organisations from throughout the European Union and in countries participating in the Horizon 2020 programme.
The competition closed to entries on Friday 7 April 2017. Applicants will be informed about the outcome of their entry in early June.
The competition will help the most innovative ideas and projects achieve sustainable impact. Thirty of the most promising applications will be chosen as semi-finalists and will be invited to a social innovation mentoring academy in Madrid in July to progress their ideas.
The three most effective solutions will each be awarded with a prize of €50,000 at an awards ceremony in Brussels in October 2017.
This is the fifth year that Nesta has worked as a delivery partner of the European Social Innovation Competition. Organised since 2012 in memory of Diogo Vasconcelos, the European Social Innovation Competition calls for all Europeans to come up with solutions to the problems affecting our society. The competition is run by the European Commission with the support of a consortium of partners including Nesta, Shipyard, Impact Hub, Kennisland and Matter&Co. Nesta's Challenge Prize Centre has been lead partner in prize design and delivery since the competition programme began in 2012.
Diogo Vasconcelos was a Portuguese leader who focused on fostering new ideas to address some of the great societal challenges of our time. During his career he worked closely with the European Commission and others on issues such as globalisation, sustainability and climate change, urbanisation, democratic participation, public services and healthcare. During his life, Diogo was chairman of the Social Innovation Exchange and also launched the Entrepreneurs Academy, among other accomplishments. He passed away in July 2011 at the age of 43.
For more information about the competition, visit the European Commission website