Frequently Asked Questions
About the Social Innovation Tournament
What is the Tournament?
The Social Innovation Tournament established by the EIB Institute is the flagship initiative of the Social Programme. The Tournament seeks to promote the generation of innovative ideas and identify/reward opportunities promising substantial societal benefits or demonstrating best practices with tangible, scalable outcomes.
What is the structure of the Tournament?
The Tournament runs in two rounds: proposals submitted by the deadline for submission 3 March 2021, 23:59 CET will be screened and up to 15 finalists will proceed to the 2nd round. The finalists will be invited to present their proposals at a Final Event (to be held in Lisbon, Portugal, on 7 October 2021) where the winners will be selected and prizes awarded.
Does the Tournament target specific fields?
The Tournament aims at making a positive impact on people’s lives. It covers projects in a wide range of fields, from education and healthcare to natural or urban environment and from new technologies to new systems and new processes. Improvements in these fields are critical to business success, and social innovation can have a substantial societal impact. A Special Category Prize, introduced in 2013, gives additional emphasis to a specific field each year. In 2020, the Special Category prizes were awarded to projects addressing the topic of the environment (with a special emphasis on biodiversity and ecosystem conservation). In 2019, the Special Category prizes were awarded to projects addressing the topic of sustainable consumption and production (including circular economy); in 2018, the Special Category prizes were awarded to projects addressing the topic of sustainable development (with a special emphasis on circular economy); in 2017, the Special Category prizes were awarded to projects focused on ageing; in 2016, this prize was awarded to projects that addressed the topic of health with a special emphasis on childhood obesity; in 2015, it went to projects targeting equal opportunities with a special emphasis on people with disabilities; and in 2013 and 2014, it went to projects in the urban and natural environment. In 2021, the Special Category 1st and 2nd Prizes will be awarded to projects addressing the topic of sustainable living.
Do proposals have to be global in scale?
No. Proposals can outline a local solution tailored to a certain area since local or small-scale solutions could be replicated and demonstrate high potential impact. The higher the impact the better. Submitted proposals are to be implemented in at least one or more countries of the European Union Member States, Candidate and Potential Candidate countries, and EFTA countries.
Do proposals need to address the whole issue or can they focus on single aspects?
Any proposal that helps to find a solution, whether directly or indirectly, will be considered. Please note that the selection criteria include the relative significance of the problem targeted, the sustainability of the proposed innovation and the estimated social and/or environmental impact of the proposed solution.
Does the Tournament give the EIB Institute any ownership or IP rights over proposals submitted?
No. Participation in the Tournament will not, in and of itself, give the EIB Group or the EIB Institute any claims on intellectual property rights.
How is confidentiality managed during the SIT application process?
Applications are handled in the strictest confidence and in accordance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). All reviewers must adhere to these rules. If your project is selected to be one of the 15 finalists, we will publish a short summary of the project on our website and social media. The Final Event where the 15 projects pitch their solutions to the jury is a public event.
About the Application Procedure
In which language can I submit my proposal?
Only proposals submitted in English will be accepted; proposals submitted in other languages will not be considered. Annexes, websites, additional materials, etc., also have to be in English. Presentations at the Final Event will be in English.
Who can apply?
The Tournament is open to individuals or teams from (or residing in) the European Union Member States, Candidate and Potential Candidate countries, and EFTA countries that submit proposals to be implemented in one or more of these countries.
Is there an age limit for applications to the SIT? Can minors also be applicants?
There is no minimum or maximum age limit to apply to the Tournament. However, the contact person on the application form should be the representative who is responsible for the project and present at all stages of the SIT journey (interview, mentoring and rehearsal training and Final Event). If your project is selected as a finalist, the contact person should be available to travel and to attend all the key date events of the process. Check the dates here.
Does the size or type of applying entities matter?
Not at all. Entries are mainly expected from young entrepreneurs and social enterprises, the corporate responsibility departments of private sector companies of any size, NGOs and government or local government bodies and university communities. Entries from student teams are accepted.
Can ideas already implemented be submitted?
Yes, of course!
What is meant by “scale” or “scalability”?
The capacity to grow or replicate your project within your own and other spaces (geographic, target groups, etc.).
Should proposals be accompanied by a financial plan?
All proposals must be accompanied by at least the financial basics, with information about costs (running costs and large items in your budget), revenues (past, present and projected) and break-even scenario(s).
How are applications to be submitted?
Proposals are to be submitted until 3 March 2021, 23:59 CET to firstname.lastname@example.org. using the application form.
The application package must include:
- The completed application form (Word file).
- The financial template (Excel file).
- A scheduled interview. All applicants must complete a seven-minute video interview before they can enter the first round.
Is there a fee to enter the competition?
No fee! It is free.
What are the selection criteria for each round?
Proposals must comply with the Tournament requirements. In the 1st round, proposals will be screened on the basis of their clarity and the way the summary answers questions such as:
- What is/are the social and environmental (societal) problem(s) that you seek to solve?
- What stage is your project at?
- What difference does your project make in solving the problem(s)?
- Who is benefiting from your solution and how?
- What are your actual/expected main funding sources? Can your project generate recurrent revenues? What is your value proposition to investors?
- How would you spend the prize money on the project if you win the competition?
The 2nd round assessment at the Final Event will take further account of the likelihood of sustainable implementation based on the scope of the proposal’s social vision and its overall cost effectiveness as well as the team’s commitment, strategy and implementation capacity.
What is the video interview?
All applicants must complete a seven-minute video interview held in English before they can enter the first round. The seven-minute video interview will be cancelled if the application package is incomplete or does not meet all the eligibility criteria. Please make sure you have good technical conditions before the video call.
Please note that the interview will be recorded. By applying to the SIT, the applicant gives his/her consent to the use by the EIB Institute of the recorded interview for the evaluation process.
What are the questions to be addressed in the video interview?
You will be asked about the following:
- The first question will be about the history and motivation behind the project.
- The second will focus on the key innovation points that distinguish your project from its competitors.
- The third will be an opportunity to talk about the project’s transformative potential for people and/or the planet.
You may be asked some additional questions to provide further clarification about your application.
How do I schedule a video interview?
You can schedule your interview using the link provided in block III of the application form. Write down the hour and day you have selected (please note the platform will identify your time zone automatically).
Keep in mind that the submitted application form is only considered valid when a video interview has been scheduled.
Can I reschedule or cancel a video interview?
You can reschedule only to one of the existing slots on the platform, but you cannot cancel the interview. Cancelling implies that you are no longer participating in the competition since it is a compulsory part of the application process.
If, due to any unforeseen circumstances, you need to change the date/hour, you can reschedule the call with a minimum of four hours’ notice by using the confirmation email received right after the original scheduling.
When will the finalists who will proceed to the 2nd round be announced?
The finalists of the 1st round who will be screened to proceed to the 2nd round of the Tournament will be announced on the EIB Institute’s website by 15 May 2021 at the latest. Please make sure that you are available for the Mentoring Bootcamp which will be held on 29-30 June, the 3 sessions of the e-training on pitching and communication techniques (29 July, 26 August and 16 September), the Rehearsal Bootcamp (5 and 6 October) and the Final Event (7 October). You can find all the key dates here.
What are the submission deadlines?
The deadline for proposals for the tenth EIB Institute Social Innovation Tournament is 3 March, 23:59 CET.
How many projects can I submit?
Any single applicant can submit as many proposals as they want.
I applied last year. Can I apply again this year?
Winning projects cannot be re-submitted. Projects that were submitted in previous editions, even if they were finalists or won a mentoring voucher, can be re-submitted if there are improvements vis-à-vis the previous submission. Winning teams and individuals can apply as many times as they want with new projects.
My project won a prize in a previous edition of the Tournament. Can I apply again this year?
Yes you can, but with a new project!
Do proposals have to be not-for-profit?
Not necessarily. The Tournament aims to attract interest from both not-for-profit and for-profit organisations so as to better work towards meeting societal needs and contribute to the solution of neglected and complex societal problems.
Who should be the contact person of a project/application?
The contact person of the project/application should be the person who will participate in all compulsory parts of the competition. The contact person should (i) have taken part in the video interview, and, if selected for the 2nd round, (ii) participate in the Mentoring and Rehearsal Bootcamps, and (iii) pitch at the Pitching Competition-Final Event. S/he will be the contact for all notifications on the outcome of the selection process and the following steps.
About the Final Event and Prizes
How many prizes are there?
To mark the tenth anniversary of the SIT, winning projects in the General Category, and projects falling within the Special Category (in 2021, projects focusing on sustainable living) will be awarded a first or second prize of €75 000 and €30 000 respectively, and an Audience Choice Award of €10 000.
The winner of the 1st prize in the General Category will also receive an EY mentoring voucher (half-day business plan fine-tuning offered by EY Transaction Advisory Services in Belgium).
No winner may get more than one prize. Winning projects cannot be re-submitted to compete in subsequent editions of the tournament.
Mentoring vouchers. Two project teams (up to two persons per project) will be selected to attend INSEAD’s Social Entrepreneurship Programme in Fontainebleau, France.
All finalists will join the SIT Alumni Network. SIT Alumni benefit from numerous training opportunities, participate in conferences around Europe, and network with investors, venture philanthropists and foundations who can help their project to grow their impact.
Who will be invited to attend the Final Event?
Other than the Selection Committee and the finalists themselves, invitations will be sent to social innovation specialists, project experts, impact investors, foundations, financial experts, representatives of the NGO community and other professionals involved in promoting/supporting innovation, notably social innovation, including from the host institution. Applicants to the Tournament not selected for the 2nd round will also be invited to attend.
What will be the composition of the Jury?
The Jury will be composed of social innovation specialists mainly from the fields of research and financing. The Jury will be present at the Final Event, follow the presentation of proposals by the finalists and deliberate before deciding on and announcing the winners.
Can proposals selected for the 2nd round be altered for the final presentation at the event?
The finalists will be allowed to fine-tune/complete their ideas between the two rounds, ensuring that they meet the 2nd round assessment criteria. Final proposals must be submitted at a date to be announced.
How will the Final Event be organised?
The selected finalists will be invited to give a public presentation of their proposal (7 minutes each), which may be followed by questions from the Jury (5 minutes). The deliberations of the Jury will take place at the end of the presentations before the winners are announced and the respective prizes are awarded.
Will any of the participants’ costs be met by the organisers?
Travel expenses for up to two people to travel to Lisbon, Portugal, will be covered for teams or individuals with proposals selected for the 2nd round. Travel expenses for two members of the team to attend the Mentoring Bootcamp, which will take place in a location to be determined, will also be met by the organisers.
Two persons per project are invited to attend the Mentoring Bootcamp and the Final Event. At least one of the two members of the project team must do all of the following: (i) have taken part in the screening video interview, (ii) participate in the Mentoring Bootcamp, and (iii) pitch at the Pitching Competition – Final Event (this is the contact person on the application form). Please note that attendance at the Mentoring Bootcamp is compulsory. Please consult the calendar of events here.