With the Best Social Innovators in Europe

It was a great honour to be a part of one of the biggest events for social innovation in Europe this year. 

Madrid was the meeting point for the fifteen finalists selected among 171 candidates from 26 countries to present their proposals at the final event in October. Moderated by Louise Pulford from the European network for social innovation exchange – SIX, the event was a unique opportunity to meet social entrepreneurs from all over Europe and share thoughts on how to successfully grow business ideas to improve the lives of the most underprivileged in society.





Hosted this year in cooperation with IE Business School in Madrid, the Social Innovation Tournament (SIT) of the EIB Institute, established in 2012, rewards and promotes innovative initiatives with an ethical or environmental impact in the fight against social exclusion.

In his speech Roman Escolano, the Vice-President of the European Investment Bank said he is proud the EIB has the invested in Spain more than in any other country and outlined the mission of the initiative: “The goal of the Social Innovation Tournament is to help us reap the full benefits of innovation processes thanks to the integration of innovative solutions into our day-to-day lives. This will also improve our growth potential and ensure that this economic growth is inclusive and reaches those people who have suffered most the dramatic effects of the financial crisis.”


During the Tournament, the finalists had to present and defend their project before a Jury composed of seven social innovation specialists chaired by Sophie Robin (Stonesoup Consulting) and Paula Almansa (Impact HUB), Olivier de Guerre (PhiTrust), José Tomás Frade (Former EIB staff member), Rémy Jacob (First Dean of the EIB Institute), Meredith Niles (Impetus Trust) and Johannes Weber (Social Venture Fund).


While the jury was taking the hard decisions, the participants had a lecture from the Founder of the London Social Stock Exchange – Pradeep Jethi, who shared generously his insight in social business growth. His introduction in social investment culminated in a debate and roundtable on what does it take to be a social entrepreneur, what are the best practices and trends on the funding of social innovation projects in different stages across Europe. Rodrigo Aguirre de Cárcer from Reemprende and Francisco Soler from Creas brought the messages from the investors side, Teia Gavrilescu from VitorPlus – 1st Prize Winner from SIT 2013 and Francisco Polo from Change – told us about the social entrepreneur challenges, Sofía Hernández de Mesa (Telefónica) – represented the corporate business interested to foster social innovation growth and innovation, together with Guadalupe de la Mata from EIB, who added some of the deepest conclusions on the global social investment and development of the social innovation agents.




Adie, an initiative from France that aims to launch social microfranchise networks designed to offer turnkey business models to low-income entrepreneurs, and Blue Badge Style, a style website from the United Kingdom and app for disabled people that allows users to explore travel options, restaurants, theatres, sporting arenas and retailers, will receive EUR 25 000.

School4All, which organises and creates opportunities for the inclusion of physically or mentally disabled children in public schools, will receive EUR 10 000.

In addition, four projects – Career Moves (Austria), Filisia (Greece), Hello Mum (Hungary) and PinkLime Social Business (Romania) – have received a voucher to benefit from subsequent mentoring services from practitioners in the field.

The next Social Innovation Tournament will take place on 24 September in 2015 in Milan, Italy with the call for projects scheduled to start in February 2015.

Over two days in July, the 15 finalists will participate in a mentoring bootcamp in Budapest, organised in cooperation with the European Entrepreneurship Foundation and Demola-Budapest, at which experts will offer practical advice aimed at improving all aspects of each project.

Learn more about next year’s competition at:   http://institute.eib.org/programmes/social/social-innovation-tournament/