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EBN | Social Challenges Innovation Platform
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Social Challenges Innovation Platform

Social Challenges Innovation Platform (SocialChallenges.eu), aims at creating an online ecosystem to match pressing social challenges with innovative solutions, by supporting the co-development and execution by social innovators and SMEs of sustainable and market-oriented innovations with clear social impact. The action will enable European stakeholders to clearly define pressing social challenges; to promote a broad participation of social innovators, entrepreneurs and SMEs; to facilitate the testing of concrete solutions to prioritised challenges and their international scaling. SocialChallenges.eu will provide a complementary grant-making mechanism, focused on the translation of challenges into practical and marketable solutions.

The action will test a novel approach in the selection of solutions that is demand driven and user-centred. It will promote the ignition of these solutions by facilitating access to mentors, first clients and investors, and by building on the proven experience of the consortium networks in scaling social innovation across Europe.

To maximise value for money and impact, SocialChallenges.eu will leverage the know-how and reach out of the 3 partners: META Group with its long experience in managing financial instruments and meeting entrepreneurial needs; Impact Hub, the leading global network of centres for social innovation and social entrepreneurship with 85 Hubs, over 13,000 members and a proven track-record in managing social innovation challenge prizes; and EBN (The European Business and Innovation Centre Network), with its over 240 members, reaching out to more than 18,700 SMEs, 8750 start-ups and 485 large companies - 12% of them involved in social innovation related projects.

Check out the introductory video  about SocialChallenges.eu and discover more about the opportunities we'll offer to European SMEs and socia innovators!


The overall objectives of the project are:

Encourage bottom up, networked definition of social and societal challenges and needs. 

Social enterprise crosses several sectors, industries and bureaucracies; a crucial role SocialChallenges.eu will play is breaking down the existing silos that prevent growth by encouraging contamination between social and innovation based entrepreneurship, alongside the formulation of social needs at local/regional level and the subsequent sharing of solutions at larger scale. 

Support the formulation of societal challenges and promote the co-development of solutions with collaboration between social innovators and SMEs.

Securing collaborations between social innovators and SMEs requires an action that reassesses all the direct and indirect social ‘costs’ of the social challenge and reallocates them in a dynamic and interactive market– oriented ecosystem. In other words, the platform will encourage social entrepreneurs to understand that, "their core values and passion have to align with the demands and opportunities offered by the marketplace”. Consequently, SocialChallenges.eu’s purpose is to help social enterprises become financially healthy through a tailored action that addresses their future relationship to and within the SME sector.

Enable the emergence of an online ecosystem for social innovation.

SocialChallenges.eu will make available a European ‘go to’ platform where social innovation demand and supply can meet, an online ecosystem encouraging the interaction between social innovators and SMEs for the definition of sustainable and marketable innovations with clear social impact. Social innovators and social entrepreneurs are part of a complex ecosystem that includes multiple actors operating in multiple sectors. As a consequence, SocialChallenges.eu’s objective is also to enable the emergence of an online ecosystem made up of social entrepreneurs, social innovators, SMEs, investors, funders and multiple business development services. Moreover, SCHIP will test and validate a business model to make the platform self-sustainable and a reference for SMEs and investors willing to support/adopt social innovations.

Provide financial support to the most promising solutions.

SocialChallenges.eu proposes a complementary funding mechanism that will enable the testing and market-uptake of some of the most promising solutions. This will be achieved through the provision of start-up grants as a clear market entry-point for SMEs interested in developing opportunities for and in collaboration with social enterprises / innovators / entrepreneur


Social innovations are new ideas that meet social needs, create social relationships and form new collaborations.

SCHIP will therefore build on the networking potential of the consortium, fostering a process of developing a social change, identifying competitive advantage (EU business generation and development), and making use of well-structured organisations and an ad hoc lump-sum grant to maximise the development potential.

This project aims at stimulating and supporting bottom-up approaches to social innovation, encourage and enhance the participation of SMEs in the development of high-impact solutions, incentivize cooperation paths for social innovators and SMEs, increase awareness on social innovation opportunities among a wide spectrum of European Stakeholders (mainly intermediaries such as business support organisations, investors and alike) by enabling multi-level, multi-actor and multi-sectoral connections through an online challenge platform and an impact driven funding scheme. 


SCHIP will deliver:

The Social Challenge Innovation Platform, the online ecosystem where social innovation demand and supply will meet.

A grant mechanism enabling 27 challenges to access this granting scheme. For each challenge 3 "semi-finalists" will be granted 30000€ to develop a prototype, a MVP, or test the feasibility of the solution. At the end of the granting period (6 month), the challenge owner will select the finalist, whose solution will be piloted.

A set of international events encouraging connections between challenge owners, SMEs and social innovators.


SCHIP will generate a critical mass of SMEs engaged in social innovation through a number of networking activities, events, workshop and a large variety of dissemination and communication tools.  

SCHIP will provide a series of actions to connect social enterprises and SMEs: 

  1. The challenge platform will create connection among stakeholders by leveraging on the wide network of the project partners.
  2. The applicants for the “call for grants” are strongly encouraged to build a team of social innovators/ social entrepreneurs combined with SMEs to comply with the application requirements
  3. The “challenge owner” needs to commit with one of the granted team to proceed in the business growth.
  4. Solution providers and challenge owners are given the opportunity to scale-up by pitching to business angels, impact investors, and other relevant stakeholders 

SCHIP will give voice to a number of unmet social needs through the challenge platform where challenge owners will apply to search for possible solutions. Then SCHIP will build up and maintain a funding mechanism able to : 

  1. Identify, and support through mentorship a total of 27 social challenges selected among the applicants; 
  2. Select and grant a total of 81 solutions;  
  3. Give the possibility to the “challenge owner” to choose among 3 founded solutions the one that best fits with his/her challenge on the basis of the results and allocate additional funds for the uptake of the selected solution In the end a total of 27 granted solutions – those chosen by the challenge owners - will be further exploited for business development through connections with business angels, impact investors, and any other partner who can contribute to the exploitation of SCHIP social challenges results.
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Project details
Project duration: 15 Dec 2016 to 14 Jun 2019
Project funded by Horizon 2020
Project type: International Project
Eligible countries: EU28 Countries, Horizon 2020 Associated Countries
EBN Project Manager

Chiara Davalli

Project added on 01-02-2017 17:21 by Chiara Davalli. 9321 page views

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