Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Business4Change Hackathon - Call for expressions of interest from potential challenge owners and experts

Business4Change Hackathon - Call for expressions of interest from potential challenge owners and experts
Published on: 20/04/2020 Last update: 20/05/2020
Deadline: 01/06/2020
We invite businesses and organisations to take part in the upcoming 'Business4Change hackathon'. The hackathon aims to deliver new business models and solutions to facilitate the circular economy. The event will be part of the European Business Summit’s 20th-anniversary edition focused on sustainability, scheduled to take place on the 16 and 17 November 2020 in Brussels.

What is the Business4Change Hackathon about?

We will invite young innovators with bright ideas to develop innovative business models for the circular economy, and provide businesses with sustainable solutions to issues they face when engaging in the circular economy.
Solutions will be new solutions or or new service delivery models using different product loops (e.g. sharing, repairing, reusing, remanufacturing, recycling, data sharing). They should be replicable and scalable across different sectors and countries.
Examples of potential questions that could be covered during the hackathon include 

  • How to collect evidence on the durability and reparability of electronic devices?
  • How to develop systems to weight reparability, durability, functional effectiveness and costs of products?

What is the objective of the call for expression of interest?

This call for expression of interest invites public and private organisations to become challenge owners or experts in the hackathon, helping participating businesses and organisations find a concrete solution for a challenge in their transition to the circular economy. Teams from all over Europe will work on their challenge to find socially innovative and sustainable solutions, promoting new business models.

What is the role of the challenge owners and experts?

Challenge owners
Challenge owners are business of any size  engaged or willing to engage in the circular economy. They will 

  • help define the challenges to be tackled during the hackathon, based on concrete, operational issues they are facing
  • prepare the teams before the event and support them during the event
  • judge the results of the hackathon and provide the winner with a non-monetary prize (e.g. incubator space, promotion at a relevant event, training, workshops, seed funding, place in an accelerator programme, mentorship, etc.)

Experts are  individuals from public or private sector organisations (e.g. NGOs, universities and research institutes, industry associations, circular economy networks) with in-depth knowledge of circular economy issues. They will

  • contribute to scoping the challenges, training the teams on specific issues related to their expertise and judge the results of the hackathon
  • disseminate the hackathon's results after the event

Challenge owners and experts will participate in the following hackathon milestones

  • online introductory workshop: to discuss and fine-tune the challenges (4h in June 2020 – date to be confirmed)
  • training webinars: two webinars to meet and train the teams before the event (around 6h in September 2020 – date TBC)
  • Social Innovation Hackathon (2-day event): a challenge owner organisation representative supports the teams during the event, while another participates in the jury - experts only participate in the jury (16-17 November 2020)

Challenge owners and experts will not receive any remuneration, nor reimbursement of accommodation or travel expenses.

How can you benefit as a challenge owner or expert?

You can

  • solve concrete business issues in your industry with the help of innovators 
  • benefit from the Europe-wide promotion and visibility, highlighting your contribution to tackling issues in environment, society and economy
  • participate in the annual European Business Summit, one of the largest networking and debating events in Brussels including over 2,000 participants and 200 high-level speakers

Who can apply?

Organisations should be based in or have an office in a country participating in the COSME programme. This includes all EU countries as well as some non-EU countries.

In addition, challenge owners and experts should be available to participate in the online meetings scheduled ahead of the event and travel to Brussels on the days of the event (16-17 November 2020).

Challenge owners and experts will not receive any remuneration, nor reimbursement of accommodation or travel expenses.

How will we select proposals?

The Commission will select two challenges and between 2 and 4 experts. Depending on the challenges selected, we might invite several candidate challenge owners to work together on the same issue. An ad-hoc selection committee within the European Commission will select challenge owners and experts.

The evaluation criteria comprise

  • the challenge(s) (i.e. business issues) proposed for the hackathon (2 max.)
    • the description of their sectoral impact, societal impact and business potential
    • potential to be scaled-up to other sectors and across the EU
    • alignment with EU priorities in the green deal and the new circular economy action plan
  • prize(s) offered to the winning participants
  • tools to disseminate winning solutions 
  • being active in one of the following industries constitutes an advantage: IT, electronics, transport and mobility, building and construction, mining, furniture, food and drinks

The European Commission has sole and absolute discretion to select the challenges based on the above-mentioned criteria. Unsuccessful candidates will not receive individual feedback but they will be informed that their applications have not been retained by email.

How to apply?

Applicants for challenges owners and experts should fill in the online application before 1 June 2020 at midnight (CET). A call for applications for hackathon participants will be launched at a later stage.
Successful applicants will be informed in early June 2020. Subsequently, we will organise an online workshop to discuss organisational details and the challenges to be tackled during the hackathon.

Personal data will be processed in compliance with the privacy statement. If you experience any problems with your application, please email the organisers at
The date and form of the Business4Hackathon may be subject to change due to the outbreak of COVID-19. The organisers will carefully monitor the situation, in particular as regards the main event, taking place on 16 and 17 November 2020.