“Complex Disease Detector” from Sweden, and ColorADD from Portugal have been awarded the first and second prizes in the sixth edition of the Social Innovation Tournament, a competition organised by the European Investment Bank Institute to reward and promote innovative initiatives with a social, ethical or environmental impact working to create societal impact.

This year’s edition took place on 21 September in Riga, Latvia, in cooperation with the Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia, and the Latvian Ministry of Welfare.

The FreeBird Club (Ireland) and Walk With Path (United Kingdom) shared the first prize in the Special Category on ageing.

“Complex Disease Detector” is an accurate, non-invasive and affordable technology for screening and early diagnosis of heart disease. They also won a voucher to receive subsequent advice from EY Transaction Advisory Services in Brussels.

ColorADD is a unique, universal, inclusive and non-discriminative language that allows the colour-blind to identify colours, with a wide infinite spectrum of use in companies/entities whenever colour is a factor of identification, orientation or choice.

The FreeBird Club is a travel-based social network for older adults. Operating as a peer-to-peer social travel and home-stay club, it offers a whole new way of travelling for older adults, a potential new source of income for hosts, and a fun and accessible way to meet new people and enjoy companionship in later life. Walk With Path is a healthcare company aiming to improve mobility and reduce the risk of falls for a range of individuals, including the elderly and people with chronic diseases.

In addition, three projects – GIVMED (Greece), Refugeeswork.at (Austria) and ULTRASPECIALISTI (Italy) – won a voucher to receive subsequent mentoring services to help take the project forward.

For the second time in a row the EIB Institute is partnering with INSEAD Business School to offer two finalists, Discovering hands® (Germany) and MagikMe (Hungary),  the opportunity to attend the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship programme.

For the first time in 2017 the EIB Institute will finance the residency at the IRIS Social Incubator (Incubadora Regional de Inovacao Social) for up to two members of the selected projects) for a period of between three and six months.  AdoptGrandParents (Spain) and Arborea (UK) were the two lucky winners. IRIS is a Regional Social Innovation Incubator fostering regional development through social innovation, recently launched by the EIB Institute and PortusPark.

Janis Reirs, Minister for Welfare of the Republic of Latvia, said “The EIB Social Innovation Tournament is an opportunity to get acquainted with outstanding examples of social entrepreneurship from different countries. I wish to express my gratitude to the European Investment Bank and appreciation of the fact that this year it is holding the final event of the tournament in Riga. Latvia has approved the concept of development opportunities for social entrepreneurship; the Social Enterprise Law will be passed soon, and the Ministry of Welfare has started to implement a support programme for potential social enterprises. We will take these and further steps to promote the growth of social entrepreneurship in Latvia and to provide opportunities for new initiatives addressing social problems and for the development of social innovations in the future.”

Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank, said: “This Tournament is about Europe’s best social innovators, and the fifteen finalists projects reveal the great potential of untapped social innovation that is available in Europe. What they all have in common is their innovative approach in meeting social needs, fighting social exclusion and creating environmental impact. All demonstrate the incredible drive, the endless energy and the vast potential of Europe’s best social innovators.”

Elena Casolari, President of the Jury, said “The quality and richness of the projects is very high and all these promising solutions show us the energy, and potential of a growing crowd of bold and visionary, but indeed very pragmatic entrepreneurs whose solutions can have a very sizeable social and environmental impact. “

The Social Innovation Tournament was established in 2012 by the EIB Institute. Held every year in a different country, it rewards and sponsors European entrepreneurs whose primary purpose is to generate a social, ethical or environmental impact. Projects are typically related to combating unemployment and the marginalisation of disadvantaged communities and promoting access to education. SIT finalists constitute a growing community of social entrepreneurs from 21 different countries who have already made a difference through more than 100 projects

Fifteen finalists from ten countries had initially been selected for the Tournament from 308 proposals submitted by applicants from 31 countries.

During the Tournament, the finalists had to present and defend their project before a Jury composed of eight social innovation specialists presided by Elena Casolari   (Opes Impact Fund) and also including José Tomás Frade (former EIB staff member), Hans Wahl (INSEAD), Olivier de Guerre (PhiTrust), Kaat Peeters (Sociale Innovatiefabriek), Edgars Ivanovs (Riga Powerhouse), Rob Wilmot (Crowdcity) and Madara Ūlande (Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia).

The next Social Innovation Tournament will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark, with the call for projects starting in February 2018. In 2018, the Special Category Prizes will go to projects focusing on sustainable development with special emphasis on circular economy.