European Social Innovation Competition 2017

A €150,000 challenge prize by the European Commission for the three best ideas to ensure everyone in Europe benefits from the opportunities created by technological change.

Athens, Greece
28 February 2017
Application Deadline
12 noon, Brussels time
7 April 2017
Madrid, Spain
3-5 July 2017
Awards Ceremony
Brussels, Belgium
26 October 2017

The Problem

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.

The Challenge Prize

The European Commission 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.

Competition Timeline

The competition will help the most innovative ideas and projects achieve sustainable impact.

Application Deadline

You must have entered your idea into the competition by Friday 7 April 2017, 12:00 noon Brussels time.


30 of the most promising applications have been selected as semi-finalists by our judging panel. These entries have been invited to a social innovation mentoring academy in Madrid in July, where they will receive expert support and coaching to progress their ideas.

Detailed plan

Following the academy, the 30 semi-finalists will submit a final detailed plan in August.


From these plans, the judging panel will select ten finalists to pitch their projects at the awards ceremony in Brussels in October.


Out of the ten finalists, three winners will be awarded prizes of €50,000.


30 semi-finalists have been selected to attend the social innovation academy in Madrid in July. They come from 15 European Union Member States and Horizon 2020 participant countries, from Greece to Slovenia. Three of these semi-finalists will win €50,000 each at the Awards Ceremony in October.

All applicants may wish to refer to the Rules of Contest and Frequently Asked Questions.

Stay up to date and follow what’s happening with the European Social Innovation Competition 2017

Find us on twitter

Prize blog