For the second consecutive year, the Social Innovation Competition aims to remedy European unemployment by encouraging creative solutions.
‘We need to think and act differently to combat unemployment – the biggest societal challenge of today,’ says Antonio Tajani, European Commission Vice-President. ‘I hope that these types of innovative ideas could be expanded and replicated to have large-scale impact. This is a source of growth and jobs we need to tap into.’
With around 27 million citizens currently out of work, social innovation – innovative ideas that meet social needs – is essential for meeting the job challenge. More than five years after the onset of the global financial crisis, it is clear that there is no easy fix for the current economic malaise. But instead of merely wishing for things to change, the European Commission is enlisting Europe’s innovative problem solvers in an effort jumpstart recovery.
The 2013 European Social Innovation Competition, which drew 605 entries from all over Europe, awarded three winners for their ground-breaking ideas for increasing jobs creation (see box). The 2014 Competition, whose winners will be announced in May 2014, will do the same.
The EC will help three social innovators bring their projects to life by awarding them €30,000 in financial support to develop their ideas, and enabling them to participate in the Social Innovation Academy.