The EmpowerMed project wins the European Social Innovation prize in 2023

  • Smart energy management

Yesterday, November the 15th, the European Commission officially announced the three winners of the European Social Innovation Competition 2023. The competition supports innovators to develop their ideas into working solutions and facilitates a network of radical innovators shaping our society. This prize acknowledges the social innovation as a potent approach for responding to societal challenges.

Launched in 2013 in memory of social innovation pioneer Diogo Vasconcelos, the European Social Innovation Competition (EUSIC) awards three prizes for the best socially innovative projects for a more inclusive, just, and sustainable Europe. 

The Competition acts as a beacon for social innovators across Europe, incentivising and rewarding early-stage ideas, shaping our society for the better. This year’s challenge was “fighting energy poverty“. Proposed solutions can focus for example on aspects related to monitoring, awareness raising, specific target groups, pricing models, production, consumption and energy savings, renovations, energy community and joint investments, or investments among others. In this context, social innovations could result in a new or adapted service or business model or technologic development.

The announcement took place in the context of the European Conference “Social Economy: People, Planet, Action”, organised by the Spanish Presidency in San Sebastián within the framework of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The winners were City of Eeklo (Belgium), EmpowerMed – (a consortium composed by several entities) and Fundacion Ecologia y Desarrollo (ECODES– Spain). Each of them received €50 000. 

EmpowerMed is a European project led by Focus (Slovenia), with the participation of several partners across Europe, including IREC (read the news about the project here), ESF or UAB, among others. The main innovation proposed by EmpowerMed was the collective advisory assemblies (CAAs). These stand as innovative, adaptable, and impactful tool ready for addressing various forms and levels of energy poverty. CAAs typically take the form of public sessions gathering 10 to 30 people, welcoming anyone facing difficulties related to access and affordability of domestic energy services. The news can be read in the official website here.