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).

Download the Social Challenges Innovation Platform open call - Guide for applicants

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 to 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 to international levels and 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 was the Beta Phase?

This platform’s Beta version launched on July 6, 2017, with a ‘Beta City’, so that we could test the platform’s features over the summer.

The platform was formally launched on September 15 with 10 Challenges in 10 different Cities or Regions across Europe.

How do I stay informed?

There are several enewsletters available:

  • the Social Challenges platform enewsletter, for those interested in the Platform as a whole

  • one enewsletter for each City or Region on the Platform

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 and Organisational Profile.

It all starts by Registering to the Platform, which simply involves entering your email address and choosing a password. You will receive a confirmation email – click the link to confirm you own the email address you used.

Once you Register, you can log in, which takes you to your Platform User Menu. Apart from allowing you to manage your subscriptions, this will list all Cities/Regions on the Platform. Click on ‘Get Involved’ for the City/Region 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/Region.

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.

Clicking ‘Get Involved’ in a particular City/Region takes you to the City’s User Menu, where you can create your Public Profile.

Everything you do on this Platform will link back to your profile, so use it to tell the world about yourself. Once your Profile is approved by the “City Editor”, it will appear in the City/Region’s “People” 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, becoming its Organisation Editor (see How can I create an Organisational Profile?)

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.

  • Local staff: 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 Local staff, so don’t choose this unless you are one of them

Final notes:

  • 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 import and edit a copy of it for the new city (this feature is not yet available)

  • you will always be able to edit any Profile you create from your User Menu

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, above.

If your organisation’s profile has not yet 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’s Profile. 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 on the financing programme.

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. Just go to the ‘Manage Users’ section of the Edit Organisation Profile form (more: How do I become Member or Editor of an existing Organisation?

How do I become Member or Editor of an existing Organisation?

The first person to create an Organisation Profile is automatically its first Member and Editor.

Other people can appear as Members of an existing Organisation in two ways:

  • they choose the Organisation when they create or edit their Personal Profile (Edit Personal Profile form: ‘Organisation’ field)

  • the Editor adds their Personal Profile to the Organisation (Edit Organisation Profile form: Manage Users section)

The Editor can make any other Member an Editor by clicking the ‘Make Editor’ button next to the Member’s name (Edit Organisation Profile form: Manage Users section).

How do I make a Pitch for a Challenge?

Preconditions

To make a Pitch to a Challenge in a City or Region, you first need to have two pieces of content already online, both approved by the City Editor:

That way the Jury know who you are, and what the Organisation behind the Pitch is.

Creating, Updating, Deleting and Submitting a Pitch

  • Create: You will find a ‘Make a Pitch’ button on both the Challenge Page and within the City’s User Menu. If you meet the above preconditions, this will take you to the Edit Pitch form.

  • Edit/Update: Once you have created a Pitch, you’ll be able to edit and update it as often as you like by accessing the ‘Edit Pitch’ form. Just make your changes and hit ‘Save’.

  • Delete: You’ll also find a ‘Delete Pitch’ button in the ‘Edit Pitch’ form.

  • Submit: you can update it as often as you like, right up until the deadline, when it is automatically submitted for you (unless you Delete it before the deadline)

Writing a Pitch

As your Pitch will be automatically submitted on the Pitch’s deadline you can keep working on it until the deadline without worrying about missing it.

Your Pitch will have two parts:

  • The Public Pitch: this looks a lot like a blog post: Title, Abstract and Description, into which you can embed videos, images, etc. After the deadline, this will be checked and published in the City’s Pitches section, which means it is being considered by the Jury

  • Private Pitch: the Edit Pitch form allows you to attach up to four documents. None of these documents will be public – only the Jury will see them. One of these documents must be this template , which you should download, edit and upload into your Pitch.

Some tips:

  • Pitches often include a video element. If you do make a video, upload it to a videosharing site and use the ‘Video’ button in the Description Editor.

  • If you would like to include a document in your Public Pitch, you’ll need to publish it elsewhere and link to it from within your Description.

How do I get a Challenge onto the Platform?

For the moment, please contact us via the Contact Form (choose ‘Platform’).

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 (choose ‘Platform’).

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.

How do I contact you?

Our contact form allows you to choose to send your message to:

  • a specific City/Region, in which case it goes to the “City Editor” – use this for all local questions, remarks about any content within a specific City/Region subsite, etc.

  • or ‘Platform’, in which case it goes to team responsible for this website – use this for technical questions (check the FAQs first), remarks about any content outside of a specific City/Region subsite, etc.

If you are a registered user, please use in the Contact Form the same email address you used when you registered.