A glimpse into the past versions of
The European Social Innovation

Previous editions of The European Social Innovation Competition

2020Building on Europe’s position at the forefront of global fashion, we were looking for social innovations that
change the ways we produce, buy, use (up-cycle and recycle) fashion towards an increased social and environmental sustainability.  
The innovations aimed to reduce the overall environmental footprint and improve the societal impact of the fashion market.


  • resortecs® dissolvable stitching makes for easy disassembly and recycling
  • Snake is a digital commerce platform which applies augmented reality and enables the development of digital fashion
  • WhyWeCrafts objective is to prevent garment consumption and revive the heritage of European textile crafts

2019 – Plastic waste has become ubiquitous. Millions of tonnes of plastic waste are generated each year. In the EU, 27.1 million tonnes of post-consumer plastic were collected in 2016. This challenge rewarded the most innovative approaches to reducing plastic waste and improving re-use and recycling at a systemic level.


  • MIWA from Czech Republic – An innovative, financially sustainable circular system for food products.
  • SpraySafe from Portugal – An edible spray to be applied to the surface of foods to preserve them.
  • VEnvirotech from Spain – A biotech start-up that transforms organic waste into biodegradable polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) bioplastics using bacteria.

2018 – Young people are the future. They should have the opportunity to fully participate in the economy. How? By acquiring the right skills, having a well-paid, rewarding job, and creating value for themselves and their community. At the same time, our economy is changing. New technologies, ways of working or migration impact places and communities, bringing both new opportunities and challenges.


  • Career Bus from Romania – Aims to bring career orientation to young people living in small urban and rural areas.
  • HeritageLab from Slovenia – Teaches established innovation incubation methods to young people in small towns.
  • Ulisse from Italy – The first ever European digital platform that creates, markets and promotes local travel experiences and full holiday bundles designed by deaf people, for deaf people.

2017 – A gap is growing between people with the skills and opportunities to take advantage of technological progress and those who do not. Economic growth needs to provide opportunities for all. To create inclusive growth we must equip people with the skills they need to be able to compete in a changing economy and create business models that allow everyone to equally seize the opportunities available.


  • Buildx from the United Kingdom – This collaborative platform offers individuals and local communities the knowledge and tools to design and build sustainable homes.
  • Feelif from Slovenia – A multimedia tool that allows blind and visually-impaired people to feel shapes on a flat screen.
  • Saga from Netherlands – A peer-to-peer learning network where users learn tech skills from industry experts in a flexible way.

2016 – The EU has seen a dramatic increase in the number of refugees and migrants travelling here, many of whom are vulnerable individuals seeking international protection. This presents a challenge, not only of their immediate reception, but also of their longer term integration. This year focused on innovative approaches to build inclusive communities and realise the potential contribution of refugees and migrants.


  • CUCULA from Germany – An educational program created for and together with refugees and migrants.
  • Project Virtuous Triangle from Turkey – Matches school children from Syria with Turkish students and a university coach for tutoring, mentoring and language sharing.
  • The Machine to be Another from Spain – A cultural diversity and virtual reality experience so that someone can experience being a refugee.


2015 – There is a common understanding that current models of growth are no longer fit for a society where scarcity is the new reality. New collaborations and alternative ways to grow are needed for sustainable value and inclusive society in Europe today.


  • Apiform from Bosnia – Makes beekeeping accessible to people in wheelchairs, senior citizens and people with back pain or arthritis.
  • The Freebird Club from Ireland – A peer-to-peer social travel and home-stay platform specifically designed for the over 50s.
  • Wheeliz from France – Addresses accessibility and inclusion within the transport industry through a car-sharing platform.

The 1st European Social Innovation Competition

Social innovation can create new products, services and businesses to strengthen Europe’s relative position in growing fields such as healthcare and environmental services. Social innovators design public services that are better tailored to citizens’ needs and greater value for money, and can unlock fresh talent and skills to address pressing unmet needs.


  • Community Catalysts from the United Kingdom – This idea proposes connecting talents in business and communities to create jobs for social benefit by helping people to use their creativity to set up sustainable, small-scale social care and health services that people can afford.
  • Economy App from Germany – This project aims to improve access to the job market for the economically deprived by making their skills widely visible.
  • MITWIN.NET from Spain – Aims to reduce youth unemployment by job sharing among young and older employees.

The 2nd European Social Innovation Competition:

Initiatives that create new or better jobs in Europe

Social innovation can be a tool to create new or better jobs, while giving an answer to pressing challenges faced by Europe.


  • ‘From waste to wow! QUID project’ from Italy This project intends to recycle high quality waste into limited collections and thereby provide jobs to disadvantaged women. This is about creating highly marketable products and social value through recycling.
  • ‘Urban Farm Lease’ from Belgium – The project aims at providing training, connection and consultancy so that unemployed people take advantage of the large surfaces available for agriculture in the city (e.g. 908 hectares of land or 394 hectares of suitable flat roofs).
  • ‘Voidstarter’ from Ireland –  Voidstarter will provide unemployed people with learning opportunities alongside skilled trades-persons in the refurbishing of the voids.