BETA VERSION

Frequently Asked Questions

Background

Getting involved

Background

What is the Social Challenges Innovation Platform?

The Social Challenges Innovation Platform encourages sustainable, marketable innovations with clear social benefits by matching “Challenge Owners” – organisations with problems to solve – with creative entrepreneurs and social innovators.

In practice, the Platform is this website (currently in Beta) plus:

  • 20 local organisations supporting challenge owners and SMEs across Europe
  • 27 Challenges matched to 81 entrepreneurs and social innovators (max 3 per challenge), each supported by a € 30,000 grant to help turn their idea into a sustainable business

The Platform is powered by Meta Group, EBN and Impact Hub, under the management of the Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME) and with the support of the European Commission (grant budget: €2,430,000).

How does this Platform help Cities, Regions and Large Companies?

This platform will help you find innovators with solutions to your problems.

Join this Platform to publish and give visibility to the social and environmental challenges you want to solve. We will help you define your challenge properly, and then encourage social innovators and entrepreneurs from across Europe to propose innovative solutions.

We will then work with you on selecting the three most promising ideas. We will then help them develop their concept until it’s ready. You will then choose the winner, and work with them on solving your problem.

In the process, you will:

  • receive consulting support in identifying and defining your challenge
  • access innovative solutions to your problem from across Europe, supported by EU grants
  • support a new business, product or service from entrepreneurs and social innovators
  • position yourselves as a driver of social innovation at a European level
  • network with organisations with similar problems across Europe

How does this Platform help Entrepreneurs and Social Innovators?

This platform will help you develop your ideas and find your first client.

This platform is different from many accelerators because the starting point are Challenges, posted on the Platform by organisations (“Challenge Owners”) with a problem they need solving.

Join the Platform, describe yourself and your company, and make a Pitch for a Challenge. If you’re selected, you’ll receive a €30k grant and six months’ worth of training and mentoring to help translate your Pitch into a practical, marketable solution.

You’ll work with world-class Mentors on your solution. You’ll build a Minimum Viable Product, and thanks to the help of your mentors you'll be able to craft this MVP on the specific needs of the local environment. You'll validate your business model and fine-tune your pitch with the ultimate goal to scale-up your solution at international level and to make a bigger impact.

At the end of the process, the original Owner of your Challenge will select one winner. If that’s you, you’ll now have your first client or partner, with whom you can take your concept to the next level.

Along the way, you will gain European-level visibility for yourself and your ideas.

What can I do during the Beta Phase?

This platform’s Beta version launched on July 6, 2017, with one city (Galway), helping us test its features over the summer. The formal launch is planned for mid-September (see below).

By late July, you can:

More features and content will be added over the summer, so subscribe to the Social Challenges enewsletter to stay informed (see How do I stay informed?).

What happens in September 2017?

In mid-September, at least 10 Challenges across Europe will appear on this platform, along with the features allowing you to get involved.

How do I stay informed?

There will be many enewsletters available:

  • the Social Challenges platform enewsletter, for those interested in the Platform as a whole
  • one enewsletter for each City on the Platform, for those involved in a specific city

The easiest way to subscribe to the Social Challenges platform enewsletter is to simply enter your email address into the ‘Subscribe’ box at the top of every page. You can also subscribe as you Register (just tick the ‘Subscribe?’ box, and follow the Platform on social media.

If you Register, moreover, your User Menu provides a ‘one stop shop’ where you can (un) subscribe to all enewsletters.

Getting involved

How do I get involved? What does ‘Register/Login’ mean?

There are many ways of getting involved in an existing City Challenge:

Proposing a Challenge or Making a Pitch requires a Personal Profile linked to an Organisational Profile.

They are also highly recommended if you want to get your City included in the platform (see How do I get a Challenge on the platform?).

It all starts by Registering to the Platform, which simply involves entering your email address and choosing a password.

Once you Register, you can log in any time to access your Platform User Menu. Apart from allowing you to manage all your subscriptions, this will list all Cities on the Platform. Click on ‘Get Involved’ for the City you want, either from the User Menu or from the City’s home page. This will take you to your user menu for that particular City

See also: News: New features added! (July 31, 2017)

How can I create a Personal Profile?

Having a Personal Profile is a prerequisite for contributing to the Platform.

Once your Profile is approved, it will appear in the City’s “People” menu, so use it to tell the world about yourself. Don’t forget to upload a photo.

There are several ‘types’ of People in the Platform, so choose the one which best describes you:

  • Entrepreneur: if you wish to make a Pitch for a Challenge, this one’s for you
  • Angel Investors: Angel investors are also called informal investors, angel funders, private investors, seed investors or business angels. These are high-net-worth individuals who inject capital for startups in exchange for ownership equity.
  • Organiser: these are the people running the Challenges in your city, so don’t choose this unless you are one of them
  • Mentors and Judges: these are chosen by the Organisers, so don’t choose this unless you are one of them

Note:

  • if this is your first City, you will create your Profile from scratch.
  • if you have already created a Profile in another City, you’ll be able to get and edit a copy of it for the new city.
  • you will always be able to edit any Profile you create from your User Menu
  • If your organisation is already listed in the City’s “Ecosystem” menu, you’ll be able to select it under ‘Organisation’. If not, you will be able to create an Organisation Profile for it later (see How can I create an Organisational Profile?)

How can I create an Organisational Profile?

Having an Organisational Profile is a prerequisite for proposing a Challenge or Making a Pitch.

First: make sure it has not already been created! If it has, then simply select it in the ‘Organisation’ field when creating your Personal Profile.

If your organisation’s profile has not been created, then you will simply type its name in the ‘Organisation’ field when creating your Personal Profile. Once your Personal Profile has been approved, your User Menu for that city will allow you to create your Organisation Profile’s. You will automatically become the Organisation’s Editor.

Organisations can be of multiple types, so check all that apply:

  • Challenge Owner: check this box if you wish to have a Challenge for entrepreneurs and social innovators
  • Solution provider: this is a start-up or an SME, so check this box if you want to Make a Pitch
  • Challenge Sponsor: check this box if you wish to Sponsor one or more Challenges
  • Accelerator: seed accelerators, are fixed-term, cohort-based programs, that include mentorship and educational components aimed at growing businesses rapidly and culminate in a public pitch event or demo day
  • Incubator: incubators provide SMEs and start-ups with the nurturing environment needed to develop and grow their businesses, offering everything from virtual support, rent-a-desk through to state of the art laboratories and everything in between. They provide direct access to hands on intensive business support, access to finance and experts and to other entrepreneurs and suppliers to really make businesses and entrepreneurs to grow.
  • Investors
  • Other: all other types

If your organisation has a financing programme, click ‘Access to Finance?’ and provide (optionally) a second web page address where users can get more information.

Once the Organisation Profile is approved, you become its “Organisation Editor”, and your Personal Profile is linked to it. Moreover, you can add other people to the Organisational Profile, and remove people who mistakenly claimed to be part of it as they created their Personal Profile.

How do I make a Pitch for a Challenge?

To make a Pitch for a Challenge you first need a Personal Profile and an Organisation Profile.

This feature is not yet live.

Once you have both, your User Member will allow you to Make a Pitch to any of the Challenges in the City. Alternatively, you will find a ‘Make a Pitch’ button on each Challenge.

A Pitch has two parts:

  • Public: a title and description, which can feature images, a video or slideshare, etc
  • Private: the documents you upload with your Pitch are only visible to the Jury. These documents must include the following documents, which you can download and fill out:
    • Template for submission of solutions

Pitches often include a video element. If you do make a video, upload it to a videosharing site and use its ‘embed code’ to include it in your Pitch.

Your Pitch will be automatically submitted on the Pitch’s deadline unless you delete it beforehand – i.e., you can keep working on it until the deadline without worrying about missing it.

How do I get a Challenge on the Platform?

For the moment, please contact us via the Contact Form.

It would be an extremely good idea to create Personal and Organisational Profiles first, so we know a little about you! Please enter into the Contact Form the same email you used when you registered.

How can my city join the platform? 

For the moment, please contact us via the Contact Form.

It would be an extremely good idea to create Personal and Organisational Profiles first, so we know a little about you! Please enter into the Contact Form the same email you used when you registered.

Can I sponsor Challenges without being the ‘Challenge Owner’?

Yes you can! For the moment, please contact us via the Contact Form.

It would be an extremely good idea to first create Personal and Organisational Profiles first, so we know a little about you! Please enter into the Contact Form the same email you used when you registered.

How else can I get involved?

Once you have an Organisation Profile, you will be able to add news and events to the City.

This feature is not yet live.