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Industrial innovation


We have received 1,254 ideas for this second edition, or twice more than last year. Thank you, this demonstrates, if needed, the great aspiration for social innovation in Europe!


The following outstanding ideas are the winners of the second edition of the European Social Innovation Competition (see press release):

  • From waste to wow! QUID project (Italy): the initiative will recycle slightly damaged textile which cannot be used for Italian top brands into limited collections, and thereby provide jobs to disadvantaged women.
  • Urban Farm Lease (Belgium): the project will facilitate and support urban farming in Brussels, with the aim of directly creating 6,000 jobs and an additional 1,500 jobs considering indirect employment.
  • Voidstarter (Ireland): thanks to this scheme, the numerous units of social housing which are empty in Dublin will be refurbished by unemployed people and turned into spots for learning and entrepreneurship.

They received their trophy from Commissioner Michel Barnier on 20 May 2014 in Brussels and were awarded a prize of EUR 30,000 each.

Winners - From waste to wow! QUID project - with Commissioner Barnier

Winners - Urban Farm Lease - with Commissioner Barnier

Winners - Voidstarter - with Commissioner Barnier


The 10 finalists of the Competition were chosen on 14 April (see press memo). Here is a brief description of the projects:

  • From waste to wow! (Italy): fashion business demands perfection, and slightly damaged textile cannot be used for top brands. The project intends to recycle this first quality waste into limited collections and thereby provide jobs to disadvantaged women. This is about creating highly marketable products and social value through recycling.
  • MC² Experience @ Work (Belgium): large companies tend to promote early retirement. At the same time many senior employees wish to stay active longer and the replacement of those experienced workers is not always easy. The Multi Company Mobility Centre is a platform enabling employees older than 50 years to stay at work with different companies, whilst keeping a contract with their original employer.
  • Pan-European Food Distribution Network (Germany): Europe's food retail market tends to be oligopolistic and to yield little compensation for farmers. This limits the viability and job potential of small-scale food production. The network plans to circumvent this situation by linking producers to consumers directly with a webshop portal and with a novel, low-cost and Europe-wide logistics system.
  • Ruffboards (Austria): top-end niche markets usually offer high potential for jobs. Ruffboards intends to produce uniquely designed longboards, skateboards and snowboards by employing young former offenders. This will reduce re-offending rates by training and placing them within the industry upon their release from prison.
  • Task Squad (United Kingdom): first experience often comes through small jobs. Task Squad is a mobile-responsive platform connecting young people with ‘micro-work’ adverts to be posted by small businesses, charities and start-ups – anything from half-a-day to one-week duration. The platform will support young people to seize such opportunities in a safe way, whilst helping them move on to longer-term employment.
  • The Synergise Project (United Kingdom): social housing and long-term unemployed have mutual affinity for each other. The project is to bring together those who need work (the unemployed tenants) with those who need to deliver services within the community (the social housing providers). Developing this relationship has the potential to create local jobs and provide an entry into the jobs market.
  • Urban Farm Lease (Belgium): urban agriculture could provide 6,000 direct jobs in Brussels, and an additional 1,500 jobs considering indirect employment (distribution, waste management, training or events). 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 (Ireland): all major cities in Europe have “voids”, units of social housing which are empty because city councils have insufficient budgets to make them into viable homes. At the same time these cities also experience pressure with social housing provision and homelessness. Voidstarter will provide unemployed people with learning opportunities alongside skilled tradespersons in the refurbishing of the voids.
  • Waste-Fab-Lab (Italy): every European produces on average more than 500 kilograms of waste each year. While the recycling industry continues to grow, many waste streams are still ignored or not connected to new innovation models (e.g. open innovation, co-design or 3D-printing). The project is meant as a shortcut from waste to creation.
  • YouRock! (United Kingdom): many young people fear that unemployment is their destiny and they may never find work. Yet they avoid established professional networking platforms, while employers increasingly look at them when reviewing potential employees. YouRock will fill this gap for young people with a tool to facilitate their employability by identifying their work skills hidden in everyday activities, presenting them in a dynamic profile and offering endorsements from trusted adults.


The 30 projects which have been selected by the jury as "semi-finalists" of the second European Social Innovation Competition are presented on a dedicated platform. To start with, you can also get an overview pdf - 485 KB [485 KB] of them. Don't miss that and share your views on @EUSocialInnov, #diogochallenge!

Country breakdown of 1 254 entries

Entry breakdown by country

The "others" category in the chart consists of: Ireland (9 entries), Cyprus (8), Finland (8), Estonia (6), FYR of Macedonia (6), Croatia (4), Luxembourg (4), Norway (4), Serbia (2), Slovakia (2), Albania (1), Latvia (1), Malta (1), Switzerland (1) and Ukraine (1).

Winners, finalists and semi-finalists of the first edition

Who were the winners and finalists of the first edition? Find out here and read their interviews on Social Innovation Europe.

Winners and finalists of the first edition of the Social Innovation Competition


Back to the main Competition page

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