SIT Guidelines for Applicants

The Tournament runs in two rounds: key evaluation criteria for the 1st round selection include the relative significance of the problem targeted, the sustainability of the innovation proposed and the estimated social, ethical and/or environmental impact of the proposed solution. The 2nd round assessment will take account of the likelihood for implementation based on the scope of the proposal’s societal vision and its overall cost effectiveness as well as the team’s commitment, strategy and implementation capacity.

A Selection Committee comprised mainly of EIB Group experts in innovation, environment and other relevant disciplines selects up to 15 projects to proceed to the 2nd round. The finalists, of which at least four should also qualify for the Special Category Prize, are announced and invited to a tailor-made training programme (Mentoring Bootcamp, e-training on pitching, one-to-one coaching sessions, and Rehearsal Bootcamp) to provide them with the necessary guidance for the finalisation of their proposals. In 2021, the Special Category Prize will go to projects focusing on sustainable living.


In 2021, to mark the tenth anniversary of the SIT, winning projects in the General and Special Categories will be awarded a first or second prize of €75 000 and €30 000 respectively.

The winner of the first prize in the General Category will also benefit from an EY mentoring voucher (half-day business plan fine-tuning offered by EY Transaction Advisory Services in Belgium). A Jury, composed of specialists from the academic and business worlds, will identify and nominate the winners of the 1st and 2nd Prizes in both categories. No winner may be awarded more than one prize.

Other awards:

  • The Audience Choice Award worth €10 000 is decided by public vote.
  • INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Programme in Fontainebleau, France. Two projects will be selected to attend the programme.
  • Membership of the SIT Alumni Network. Finalists become members of the SIT Alumni Network and benefit from numerous opportunities, from capacity building and various learning initiatives to networking and international visibility, to scale the impact of their venture. Please consult the SIT Alumni website for more details on all the opportunities available if your project is selected as one of the 15 finalists, or watch a short movie here.


The Tournament is open to individuals or teams from (or residing in) European Union Member States, Candidate and Potential Candidate countries, and EFTA countries whose proposals are to be implemented in at least one of these countries.

The EIB Institute Tournament aims to attract interest from both not-for-profit and for-profit organisations, mainly from young entrepreneurs and social enterprises, corporate responsibility departments of private sector companies of any size, NGOs and government or local government entities and university communities. Entries from student teams are also welcome.

Submissions can be at different stages of the project cycle. Proposals can be innovative ideas which could be implemented within a reasonable time frame and have substantial benefits for society, or already implemented innovative solutions with tangible outcomes in terms of societal impact which could serve as best practices and replicable models. All submissions must commit to using potential awards for the purpose of their proposal.


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.

FINAL RESULTS – 2nd round

All finalists will present their proposals at the Pitching Competition, to be held in Lisbon, Portugal on 7 October 2021.

Other key dates and deadlines.

Questions about the Social Innovation Tournament?

See Frequently Asked Questions,
Register for the webinar that will walk you through the application process, or