My European Award for Innovation journey
Finally! After years of creating and developing innovative tools for personal and professional growth, I got an amazing verification and experience by winning the Third Call for Good Practices of the European Network of Innovation for Inclusion in October 2019. YOU WILL WANT TO TRY TOO – so read on.
By that time, I had already developed and had started to distribute a few products for kids and adults. I figured that helping others made me happy. I did not spear resources or energy and have participated in numerous competitions, accelerators, and programs with average success and satisfaction.
The point is that most of these kinds of initiatives are described in a way that looks like almost any idea, product, or service fit. Surely enough, if they are looking for potatoes and you are selling milk – you should not apply. But in most of the cases, they need to attract participants to show numbers in front of the investors. They encourage you to but actually you have no chance to qualify.
This is not the case with the European Network of Innovation for Inclusion. European Innovation Inclusion Network is a project of one of the largest international non-governmental organizations, Action Against Hunger Foundation.
Hundreds of European organizations are members of the network, looking for partners for European projects in the field of social innovation and social entrepreneurship. This is a great way to introduce yourself and your idea to a vast variety of potential partners. Membership in the network is free and gives many opportunities to fund its members.
Once a year, the network organizes an international competition with a prize fund of 2,000 euros and participation in international study visits. This is the competition I did apply for and won. The documentation that is required is written to be understood and the chance to get lost in translation is really small. THE COMPETITION IS RUNNING NOW – THE DEADLINE IS 1st of JULY 2020! Hurry up and do apply.
The experience in amazing! It is not only the winning and the budget that matters but the package of activities, contacts and possibilities:
1. THE STUDY VISIT – the winner organizes and hosts a two-day visit, wherewith the Teams of the two finalists in your category you will be working on the further development of YOUR idea, product, or service and looking for common grounds for partnership. You will find it to be amazing 2 full days of co-creation and joy.
2. GUIDANCE FOR ERASMUS – a great deal of the second day is dedicated to future possibilities, where the Teams can partner and apply together. We received amazing guidance and introduction to the possible EU programs that were synthesized and simplified by Action Against Hunger. We even started a draft, which we completed between the study visit and the time of the award ceremony. It was curated and checked by our dearest Silvia from Action Against Hunger.
3. FINDING PARTNERS – Transformika Coaching Cards was the base for our application for the Erasmus Program. I joined forces with one of the finalists in my category. The thing is that we both had no experience in such an EU project and needed to onboard an experienced Leading partner. We got the support and effort from the Action Against Hunger and the Network to identify such partners and to engage us in communication. The result is that I, one finalist, two teams from Italy and one from Poland together prepared and applied with a co-created project. How amazing is that!
4. THE AWARD CEREMONY – the experience around the award ceremony is unforgettable. It is held in Spain, in Madrid – in the amazing building of the Botin Foundation. The official ceremony lasts half a day, together with networking breaks and a lovely lunch. But there is more to it - another study visit day where the winners and the finalist from both categories (Inclusive Entrepreneurship and Socio-labour inclusion) are introduced and work together further on their ideas, projects, and projects.
I found it to be competition, which provides you with so many opportunities and contacts. Not to mention that the people whom I have worked with from Action Against Hunger are just amazing and we are still in touch! No matter their workload or the world situation – they are always very kind and supportive, creating an experience of engagement and true interest in what you do. The feeling is great for a start-up – to feel like a part of something bigger and important.
Go ahead and apply by clicking HERE. Spread the news around Bulgaria or abroad and give chance to more people to apply. Enjoy the journey!