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01 Dec 2015

"New Ways to Grow" - EC announces winners of 2015 European Social Innovation Competition

The European Commission's DG Growth has announced the winners of this year's European Social Innovation Competition, with "New Ways to Grow" as the general theme. From a total of 1,400 applications from more than 40 countries, the judges selected three winners with the potential to increase growth and sustain not only financial value, but also social progress for citizens, government and enterprises alike. The three winners Sit-in beekeeping foundation Apiform, peer-to-peer homestay model for older people The Freebird Club, and accessible car sharing platform Wheeliz address ageing population, inclusion and accessibility, all of which are social and environmental issues that concern many Europeans, in creative ways. Each winner received €50,000 to implement their idea:

  • Bosnian winner Apiform makes beekeeping accessible to people in wheelchairs, senior citizens, people with back pain or arthritis. By developing a beehive accessible from behind and from a lower level, Apiform allows more people to take part in the opportunities offered by beekeeping. They aim to replicate the model across countries to foster entrepreneurship and organic living, while helping to restore the bee population in Europe.

  • The Freebird Club is a peer-to-peer social travel and homestay platform specifically designed for the over 50s. Established in Ireland, the idea applies "collaborative economy" principles to address practical issues such as loneliness and financial sustainability for older people.The Freebird Club offers a new world of social travelling for older adults, with a membership-based model.

  • Wheeliz addresses accessibility and inclusion within the transport industry through a car-sharing platform. Public transport in many cities is not accessible for wheelchair users, and the use of specialised taxi services is not affordable. Wheeliz aims to pool the estimated 100,000 adapted cars owned in France, to create a shared fleet of automobiles available for rent by wheelchair users, with hopes to expand across Europe.

Due to the security situation in Brussels, the awards ceremony on 25 November 2015 had to be cancelled. 

For more information:

EC DG Growth - News

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