Launched in 2013, the European Social Innovation Competition (ESIC) is a yearly competition run by the European Commission for the best socially innovative projects designed to change the world for the better. It acts as a beacon for social innovators across Europe, employing a proven methodology for supporting early-stage ideas and facilitating a network of radical innovators shaping our society for the better. Each year the Competition addresses a different issue facing Europe.  

The theme for this year’s competition is ‘Skills for Tomorrow – Shaping a Green and Digital Future’ and focuses on using social innovation to identify, develop, and strengthen the skills needed to tackle environmental and economic challenges.  

As the 136 cities participating in the Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC) are eager to become engines of economic recovery by creating new innovative opportunities, advancing sustainable developments and enhancing their cities both digitally and socially, ESIC presents a great opportunity. All participating ICC cities are strongly encouraged to show off their innovative and intelligent solutions and apply today. 

The ESIC has set a clear timeline as seen below.  

  • 12 May – End of  the registration period. 
  • July-August – The 30 most innovative ideas will move to the semi-final stage, after which they will receive 3 months of comprehensive support ,including personalised coaching, mentoring and training, and a chance to network with investors and experts. 
  • September – Semi-finalists must submit their final project or idea 
  • November – 10 finalists are be announced and given further training and guidance 
  • December – Awards ceremony announcing the three winners. They all receive € 50 000 to develop their idea.  

The Competition is open to any legal entity (including natural persons) or group of legal entities, except public administrations, established in EU Member States or Associated countries to Horizon Europe. Ideas and proposals from all sources, sectors and all types of organisations including for-profit, not-for-profit, or private companies are welcome. Applications involving several organisations and/or from various countries are also possible. 

Deadline: 12 May 2021

Find out more information on how to enter the competition here.