Social innovation call for proposals: actions to develop impact performance intelligence services for the social impact investing market actors


Programme Category

EU Competitive Programmes

Programme Name

European Social Fund +

Programme Description

The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) is the European Union (EU)’s main instrument for investing in people.
Τhe ESF+ will continue to provide an important contribution to the EU’s employment, social, education and skills policies, including structural reforms in these areas.

Programme Details

Identifier Code



Social innovation call for proposals: actions to develop impact performance intelligence services for the social impact investing market actors


The objective of the call is to promote the provision of enhanced data capabilities services, as well as impact management tools and practices to social purpose entities (such as –but not exclusively- social enterprises, social economy entities, social start-up, impact firms) to increase their social impact investment capacity.

Detailed Call Description

This call aims at providing funding to ease a proper and effective balance between experimentation and business development, ensuring not only the beneficiaries will reach a development stage that allows for scaling their activities, but also their ability to extrapolate important and re-usable learnings from such process. In fact, the final objective of the call is not only to have a new service or product for impact data verification, impact performance intelligence, or for any other knowledge driven innovation models for better decision making in the social impact investment market, but also that the new product or service that has been designed, developed, piloted and tested, and initially validated by the market, is also ready to be scaled up. The ultimate goal of this call is to ensure the continuity of the actions after the period of Union financing provided for in the Grant Agreement, and hence the call’s results will mainly depend on the achievement of a set of well-defined milestones rather than the positive evaluation of the agreed deliverables.

The expected outcome of this call is to promote informed and better investment decisions, greater market transparency, and performance benchmarking, with the objective to promote investments in social purpose entities (social enterprises, social start-up, impact firms, etc.) through enhanced data capabilities services, and impact management tools and practices. Hence, this call will match the need expressed by many actors in the market, which are showing an increasing data hunger, not enough addressed by current public and private initiatives.

A stronger, more transparent, and better functioning market for social impact investment is instrumental to deliver on the European Pillar of Social Rights by promoting investments in many of the areas covered by its principles, and especially the following:

  • Equal opportunities
  • Active support to employment
  • Secure and adaptable employment
  • Childcare and support to children
  • Social protection
  • Inclusion of people with disabilities
  • Long-term care
  • Housing and assistance for the homeless
  • Access to essential services

Call Total Budget


Financing percentage by EU or other bodies / Level of Subsidy or Loan


Project budgets (maximum grant amount) should range between €500.000 and €750.000 per project.

Thematic Categories

  • New Entrepreneurship
  • Small-Medium Enterprises and Competitiveness
  • Social Affairs & Human Rights

Eligibility for Participation

  • Investment Funds
  • Large Enterprises
  • Legal Entities
  • Other Beneficiaries
  • Private Bodies
  • Researchers/Research Centers/Institutions
  • Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
  • State-owned Enterprises

Eligibility For Participation Notes

In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:

  • be legal entities (public or private bodies)
  • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
    • EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs)
    • non-EU countries:
      • listed EEA countries and countries associated to the ESF+ or countries which are in ongoing negotiations for an association agreement and where the agreement enters into force before grant signature (list of participating countries).

Consortium composition:
Proposals submitted by a consortium should be composed of at least 2 applicants (beneficiaries; not affiliated entities), which complies with the following conditions:

  • At least one applicant should be a research centre or entity affiliated with a University;
  • At least one applicant should be a private or public investor; or a support organisation (an organisation that provides mostly non-financial support to enterprises, in particular business development and investment readiness support. Support organisations include incubators (focussing on new and start-up businesses), accelerators (focussing on existing enterprises) and campuses (providing co-working spaces). In addition, non-financial support is sometimes offered directly by intermediaries);
  • The consortium must be made up of applicants based in at least 2 different eligible countries in order to promote mutual learning and facilitate a transnational dimension.

To strenghten the collective intelligence dimension, or to facilitate the scalability of the product or service, applicants can choose to include an additional partner from a different eligible country than that of potential investor and support organisation.
Investors and support organisations can also be from different countries if this makes sense for the achievement of the three milestones.
The role of a support organisation is to ensure to the project the required expertise and skills to set up a successful business development and growth plan through its non-financial support. Therefore, the role of the support organisation is expected to be aligned with the core mission of any support organisation. Differently, the role of the public or private investor within the consortium does not necessarily imply actual investment, as within the framework of the project its function is to ensure the design, development and testing of the product or service is aligned with the social impact investment market needs.

Call Opening Date


Call Closing Date


National Contact Point(s)

Directorate-General for European Programs, Coordination and Development
29 Vyronos Avenue, Nicosia
Tel:  +357 22-602883

EU Contact Point

For help related to this call, if you did not find an answer in the various support means, please contact: