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 for 2017- Guide for applicants

Download the Social Challenges Innovation Platform open call for 2018- 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?

The Social Challenges platform enewsletter provides information on the Platform as a whole and related opportunities. You can also follow the Platform on social media. Finally, each city on this Platform can also create its own newsletter.

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).

Once you're Registered, moreover, your User Menu provides a ‘one stop shop’ where you can (un)subscribe to all available 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: How do you manage my information?

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 submitted, it will appear in the City/Region’s “People” menu. Don't forget to upload a photo

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?)

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 you've submitted your Personal Profile, 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:

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. 

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 you manage my personal information?

When it comes to your personal information:

A) We do not sell your personal information, or use it for any reason other than the following:

  • we store your account information (email, password) so you can have an account, needed to:
  • if you created a personal profile, you gave consent for us to publish your profile, so we have to store that information too.

B) You are in complete control over this personal information: you can login at any time to unsubscribe to the newsletter, unpublish your personal profile or delete your account (see How can I delete my profile or account?, next

More: Full Terms and Conditions for using this site

How can I delete my profile or account?

To unpublish a personal profile, simply go to the Profile's Edit Profile form, and untick the 'consent checkbox' ("I agree that my content is published on this site"). It will disappear from the site, but you can still login, access and republish it at any time.

To delete your entire account: you will find a 'delete my account' function in your User Menu. This removes your account and all of your personal profiles from our database, and hence the site, permanently

Note: 

  • neither action deletes or unpublishes any linked organisation profile, challenge or pitch – you need to delete them individually before deleting your account 

How do I get a Challenge onto the Platform?

To submit a Challenge in a City or Region, you first need to have two pieces of content already online:

Then you will find a Create challenge button in your city menu. Fill all the fields and your challenge will be reviewed by your city editor

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 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.

EPIM CALL

Rethinking Inclusion

Rethinking Inclusion is a Call for Expressions of Interest launched and funded by the European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM) and hosted by Socialchallenges.eu.

The European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM) has partnered with Impact Hub to identify socially innovative solutions (project, process, service, practice) located in an EU, EFTA or Western Balkan country that address inclusion challenges that concern young migrant men (around 18-35 years old) and migrant women with a whole-of-society approach. With this call, EPIM hopes to support their impact assessment and scalability in a way that can inform European inclusion policies, funding and practice.

Up to 20 shortlisted solutions will participate in a case study analysis where social impact experts will take a closer look at the essence and impact of the solution as well as possible scaling opportunities. Up to 8 solutions will be selected to be matched with stakeholders interested in adapting the solution in Belgium, Czech Republic, FranceItaly, Portugal or Sweden. Selected pairs will be awarded with capacity support grants of up to 30,000 EUR to prepare for the scaling/transfer of the solution.

HOW AND WHEN TO APPLY 

The application process will take place in two stages:
From 15 June to 15 July, learn more about the call and start preparing your application!
Click on “Login/Register” to create an account on www.socialchallenges.eu, learn more about the call, and start preparing your submission.

From 16 July to 15 September, 23:59 CET, submit your application!
Applicants submitting an application by July 31st, 2018, will receive first feedback and will have their eligibility checked, giving them the possibility to improve their application based on the feedback until the final deadline of September 15th, 2018.

You will find more information on www.epim.info.

Have you heard about an inspiring solution? Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and help us spread the word!

Please refer any question you may have about this call for expressions of interest to: rethinking-inclusion@socialchallenges.eu.