About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Six tips for your last-minute application to the European Social Innovation Competition

Life happens. Deadines can sneak up on you. It's understandable. So if you’ve yet to submit your application for the European Social Innovation Competition, you'll be relieved to hear you are not alone.

The 2016 competition received 84 per cent of applications in the final week, so there is still plenty of time for you to send us your ideas.

This year, the competition is looking for social innovations to ‘reboot’ equality through fresh approaches to digital inclusion, the collaborative economy and skills development, with the top three ideas awarded €50,000 prizes.

We’re looking for inspiring ideas from people all across Europe who believe in making the most of skills and technologies to close the gap in our society and compete in a changing economy.

We want innovators to create business models giving everyone an equal chance to seize the opportunities brought by technological change - like last year’s finalists, Capital Digital, who train 15-20 year old migrants and asylum seekers in technical and pedagogical skills to teach coding and programming to their 9-12 year old peers in the poorest neighbourhoods of Brussels.

Or like one of our speakers at this year’s launch event in Athens, Fairmondo, a cooperatively-owned marketplace that promotes fair goods and services and responsible consumption.

Innovators, procrastinators, ‘I’ll do it later’-ers: I have some good news for you...

  1. The application form is only seven questions. That’s it. Seven questions stand between you and a chance to win €50,000.
  2. The form is a maximum of 1000 words. It really is a very straightforward application. Make sure you leave some time to fill in your contact information and answer the evaluation questions.
  3. You only need to have an idea. All ideas are welcome, and if they are not mature yet, we’ll help you reach the stage of prototyping and implementation. Twenty-three out of last year’s 30 semi-finalists had been working on their idea for less than a year when they entered the competition. The support we provide throughout the competition, such as the three-day mentoring academy in Madrid, will help you bring your idea to life or support the development of an existing project.
  4. You can apply in your own language, as long as it’s one of the 24 official languages of the European Union.
  5. Individuals, groups and organisations can apply. It doesn’t matter what your legal structure is. You don’t need to form a team or find partners. You just need a good idea for rebooting equality in Europe. One of last year’s winners, Project Virtuous Triangle, were undergraduate students whose project was only an idea when they entered the competition.
  6. The competition is open to participants from European Union Member States and Horizon 2020 participants. Residents from 44 countries are eligible to apply (and yes, that still includes the UK).

It’s not too late to submit your entry, but make sure your application form is complete and submitted through the online platform by 12 noon Brussels time (that’s 11 am GMT) on Friday 7 April.

If you have any questions, please consult the FAQs or drop us a line on [email protected].

Good luck!


Pippa Smith

Pippa Smith

Pippa Smith

Assistant Programme Manager

Pippa was an Assistant Programme Manager in the Challenge Prize Centre, working on European prizes including the European Social Innovation Competition and the Smart Ageing Prize.

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