We’re thrilled to announce the winners of the 2017 European Social Innovation Competition! Chosen from a total of nearly 800 entries from more than 40 countries, the projects were each awarded €50,000 at the Awards Ceremony in Brussels on 26 October. Our brilliant winners are…

·       Buildx from the UK – an open source platform reinventing home building

·       Feelif from Slovenia- a multimedia tool for blind and visually impaired people

·       Saga from The Netherlands – a peer to peer learning platform

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British winner Buildx is a collaborative platform that offers the tools and knowledge to design and build sustainable homes and neighbourhoods to individual users and local communities. Buildx digitises and opens up the housing supply chain, creating a new infrastructure for investing in, designing, manufacturing, assembling and operating buildings. As a result, sustainable buildings become cheaper and accessible to a broader public and a bigger market becomes accessible for companies along the sustainable building supply chain.

Slovenian winner Feelif is a multimedia tool for blind and visually-impaired people, which allows users to feel shapes on a flat touch screen. The project uses an app and a special relief grid to allow blind users to feel ‘bumps’ from shapes and contours on the screen through vibration signals, opening up endless possibilities to read, learn and create content for blind people and making technology more inclusive.

Saga, the winning project from the Netherlands, is a peer-to-peer learning network. In a fast-changing labour market, Saga helps learners get a flexible education and learn in-demand skills from industry experts. Blockchain is used to create a digital record of the trainings completed and the results. Learners can also invite members of the community to crowd-invest in their education in exchange for a portion of their future income.

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They have successfully and impressively proven how digital technologies can improve people’s lives. The innovative projects demonstrate how everyday parts of a person’s life be it learning, reading or living in apartment can be made more accessible for all of society. Selected from a total of nearly 800 entries from more than 40 countries, the projects were each awarded €50,000 at the Awards Ceremony in Brussels on 26 October.

Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs at the European Commission said: “Digitisation and automation are rapidly changing the way we live and work. There is a growing gap between those who are equipped to take advantage of this transformation and those who are lagging behind. To help close this gap, this year’s edition of the European Social Innovation Competition looked for new ideas for a truly inclusive economy and society. The three winning projects with the potential to make a real difference.”

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In addition to the Equality Rebooted winners, the European Social Innovation Competition also awarded an ‘Impact Prize’ of €50,000 to The Bike Project. The project refurbishes second hand bikes to donate to refugees and asylum-seekers, tackling the issue of lack of mobility, contributing to the users’ independence and access to services. The project has donated 1000 bikes to refugees in the space of a year saving refugees an estimated £1,040,000 in a year. A part of the bikes received are sold through its trading arm The Bike Shop to generate funds for the project and ensure long-term sustainability.

Organised since 2012 in memory of the Portuguese politician and social innovator Diogo Vasconcelos, the European Social Innovation Competition helps the most innovative ideas to become real, sustainable and transformative projects.

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The competition is organised by the European Commission, supported by Nesta, Kennisland, Shipyard and Impact Hub.

To find out more about the contest and the winners, click here.

To follow our updates about next year’s competition, check out @EUSocialInnov on Twitter and keep sharing the great #diogochallenge ideas!