Under the theme 'RE:THINK LOCAL', the 2018 edition of the European Social Innovation Competition recognises projects that turn local challenges emerging from the changing economy into opportunities for younger generations.
The winning projects are a digital travel platform for deaf people (Ulisse), an incubation programme for young people who want to set up a business (HeritageLab) and a career orientation venture for young people from small urban and rural areas (Career Bus).
Each winner receives a €50,000 prize to further develop and implement their ideas and a trophy, designed and produced by Paris-based artist William Amor with recycled materials.
Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs said, 'I congratulate this year’s winners. They create opportunities where most only see challenges. The European Commission is committed to empowering youth in shaping a better future for themselves, their communities and Europe at large. The winning projects can deliver on this goal in a sustainable way which will be beneficial for both the economy and society at large.'
Read more about the winners of the European Social Innovation prize.
Every year the jury also looks back at the previous year's edition to select the semi-finalist who showed the most impact with their project over the last 12 months.
The 2018 Impact Prize of €50,000 was awarded to Mouse4All (Spain), a project that enables people with severe physical disabilities to access an Android tablet or smartphone without touching the screen. Whilst the world is becoming mobile, millions of people are left out of this technology revolution. People with motor disabilities cannot use or have difficulty using a touch screen, the physical interface of most mobile devices. Mouse4all uses alternative input devices such as switches, adapted mice, trackballs and joysticks. It boosts independence and autonomy by making Android devices and all installed applications accessible.
In a first for the European Social Innovation Competition, the Awards Ceremony featured a Funders’ Fair earlier in the day, where all finalists and semi-finalists were given the opportunity to meet and network with investors. The goal of the fair was to introduce participants to the funding landscape, giving them an opportunity to network directly with both various types of funders and social entrepreneurs who have successfully secured different types of investment. After the Funders Fair, all finalists were invited to pitch their project in front of the audience and to showcase their ideas at stands throughout the afternoon.