Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs commented “the European Social Innovation Competition clearly shows how we can tackle some of the biggest challenges facing European society through innovation and entrepreneurship. The 'challenging plastic waste' theme complements other important European initiatives, such as the 'European strategy for plastics in a circular economy', and the Circular Plastics Alliance, which rely on the active participation and cooperation of business. I would like to congratulate especially the 3 winners and to thank all of the participants for their entrepreneurship, ingenuity and enthusiasm.”
Meet the winners
MIWA (Czech Republic)
An innovative, financially sustainable circular distribution and sale system for food and non-food products with reusable packaging.
An edible spray to be applied to the surface of foods to preserve them, thus reducing the need for plastic wrapping and containers.
A biotech start-up that transforms organic waste into biodegradable polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) bioplastics using bacteria.
The 2019 winners were selected from 543 initial applicants from across Europe. In July, 30 semi-finalists took part in the 2019 European Social Innovation Competition’s academy. We designed this intensive training and coaching programme to develop their initiatives.
The 2019 impact prize, also worth €50,000, went to 'MTOP goes digital', an Austria-based blended learning programme that helps young, highly qualified refugees enter the local labour market. The impact prize is open to all semi-finalists from the previous year’s edition of the European Social Innovation Competition. It recognises the innovation that had the most significant social impact in the last 12 months. Under the theme 'rethink local', the 2018 competition looked for projects that turned local challenges emerging from the changing economy into opportunities for younger generations.
Future funding forum
This year’s ceremony also featured the 'future funding forum', a private side-event where the competition finalists had the opportunity to speak to experts in the fields such as impact investment and public procurement.
During the event, the European Commission also announced the launch of the European Social Innovation Competition alumni network. All of the Competition’s Semi-Finalists, Finalists and Winners will now have the opportunity to join this community of entrepreneurs, thus fostering cooperation between innovators across the different themes covered by the Competition. They will also benefit from added exposure, as sector relevant bodies and aspiring innovators will be able to find them on the new online directory.
You can find out more about this year's winners, finalist and semi-finalists by checking out their profiles.