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The EU is awarding €50,000 to three social innovation pioneers

The EU has announced the three winners of the European Social Innovation Competition (EUSIC), which seeks pioneering solutions to societal challenges.

The 2022 challenge, dubbed “the future of life”, aimed to attract participants who can promote the affordability, sustainability and reinvention of European residential areas.

“Social innovation is key to building resilience and supporting the transformation of our economies, while putting people first,” said Hubert Gambs, Deputy Director General of the Commission for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said.

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“With this competition, which is celebrating its tenth edition this year, we support social innovations that simultaneously deliver social, environmental and economic value. The three winners of the 2022 edition are social innovators who make a major contribution to the future of our lives through their innovative projects,” added Gambs.

The three winners, who will receive a prize of €50,000, are as follows:

Relearn (Italy)

The Turin-based startup has developed smart sensors that can be installed on existing bins. The sensors monitor daily waste production and sorting in designated bins using AI. They then provide reports and suggest best waste management practices through a gamification approach that promotes community involvement.

in this way Relearn can help companies and municipalities to reduce their environmental impact. The company says its product can achieve a 60% increase in recycling rates. So far it is active in three countries and eight different cities.

Sostre Civic (Spain)

Sostre Civic implements an alternative housing model to address the accessibility and affordability issues of private ownership. It promotes co-operative housing, where collective ownership prevents speculation because it makes individual profit from selling or renting a home impossible.

Members of the collective, who are also property owners, can stay in the houses for a very long time or indefinitely. They are required to make an initial contribution and pay monthly installments resulting from the costs of purchasing, maintaining and operating the housing project, but not from trends in the real estate market.

Sostre Cívic, originally started as an association, is the first housing co-operative in Catalonia and so far has 17 projects and 86 homes in use.

Efficient energy technology (Austria)

To help residents use solar energy without having to install solar panels, Efficient energy technology has developed a small solar power plant designed for installation on balconies.

The so-called SolMate can be plugged into the socket and supplies the apartment with sustainable energy. Thanks to its own metering technology, SolMate supplies electricity when it is needed and stores the rest. This way it can also work as a back-up electricity generator in the event of a power failure. The product comes with an app and can cover about 60% of a home’s electricity needs, while saving about 16,000 kg of CO2, according to the startup.


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