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After months of anticipation, the European Commission and the European Innovation Council and SME Executive Agency (EISMEA) are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s European Social Innovation Competition: the challenge prize ‘Skills for Tomorrow – Shaping a green and digital future’. 

The three winning projects, each of which will receive €50 000, were announced at the European Social Innovation Competition Awards Ceremony, held online on 8 December 2021. This year’s winners are: 

  • SkillLab, a project from the Netherlands that is developing a mobile solution that helps people to identify and express their skills. It also matches skills to occupations and training offerings that address skill-gaps.
  • Zekki – What’s up? – a digital service from Finland that matches young people with various support services based on an online wellbeing self-assessment quiz.
  • Snowball Effect, an Austrian school supporting aspiring social entrepreneurs to replicate proven social enterprises in their region.

The three winning projects were deemed to have taken the most innovative approaches and shown the greatest potential in terms of developing the skills needed to support Europe’s green and digital transition.

“All of this year’s participants, and today’s winners in particular, have proven that Europe has an immense resource of innovative potential. It will allow us to resolve the many challenges that we face as a society. I would like to congratulate the participants, and our worthy winners, for their enthusiasm, their vision, and their contributions to Europe’s green and digital future,” said Valentina Superti – Director for Ecosystems II: Tourism & proximity, DG GROW (Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs), European Commission.

I would like to congratulate all of this year’s winners on their entrepreneurial spirit and the innovative approaches they have taken to tackle the challenge we set them. The 2020 Impact Report has clearly revealed the scale of the European Social Innovation Competition’s impact in terms of job creation, growth and sustainability in the areas that it addresses. I am confident that this year’s winners will make an equally impactful contribution to sustainability and digitalization in Europe,” said EISMEA Director, Jean-David Malo.

The 2021 Impact Prize

The European Social Innovation Competition is not just about great ideas, but also about impact. The 2021 Impact Prize looks at the semi-finalists from last year’s Competition – Reimagine Fashion – Changing behaviours for sustainable fashion – and awards €50 000 to the project judged to have delivered the most significant social impact over the past 12 months.

To enter the Impact Prize, the 2020 semi-finalists completed an Impact Report, outlining their progress and impact methodology, enabling the jury panel to analyse their impact and results. 

After careful deliberation, EISMEA selected MycoTEX® from the Netherlands as the winner of this year’s Impact Prize and commended the project for how well they have met their impact goals over the past year. MycoTEX® uses an automated seamless production technology to create custom-fit products out of sustainable, vegan textiles made from mycelium (mushroom roots), replacing plastics and leathers with compostable materials.

More about the European Social Innovation Competition

Launched in memory of social innovation pioneer Diogo Vasconcelos, the ‘European Social Innovation Competition is a competition run by the European Commission, with support from the European Innovation Council across all EU Member States and Horizon Europe associated countries. Now in its 9th year, the Competition acts as a beacon for social innovators in Europe, employing a proven methodology for supporting early-stage ideas and facilitating a network of radical innovators that are shaping society for the better. 

Each year, three €50 000 Challenge prizes and one €50 000 Impact Prize are awarded for the best socially innovative projects designed to improve the world. The Competition supports the development of early-stage ideas through business accelerator support such as mentoring and coaching and the facilitation of a peer network of social innovators. 

Each year the Competition addresses a different issue facing Europe and our societies. In 2021, the focus was on Skills for Tomorrow – Shaping a green and digital future and was specifically looking to incentivise, support and reward social innovations that would help people and organisations to identify, develop and strengthen the skills we will need to adapt and thrive in a changing world.

If you have questions, please contact us at: info@socialinnovationprize.eu 

For information on earlier editions and winning projects, visit: https://eusic.challenges.org  and https://ec.europa.eu/growth/industry/policy/innovation/social/competition_en 

Follow the Competition on Twitter: @EUSocialInnov @EUeic #diogochallenge

Subscribe to the Competition newsletter here: https://eusic.challenges.org/newsletter/ 

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