"We sow ethics, we reap projects". This is the motto of Lifebility Award, the competition promoted by the Italian Lions Clubs that has recently opened the call for proposals from young social innovators for 2023. Now in its 13th edition, the initiative intends to reward ideas and projects - innovative and sustainable - aimed at social issues, proposed by young people aged between 18 and 35 for the improvement, simplification and better use of public and private community services.
Organising the competition is the Lifebility association, a non-profit organisation in the third sector, made up mainly of Lions Club members and supported by a credo: to spread the spirit represented by the Lions' Code of Ethics. The Lifebility competition, in fact, was born in 2009 in Milan with the aim of soliciting greater attention from young people to social issues. The initiative has subsequently extended its action to the entire national territory, always with the aim of directing young people to develop interest and creativity in innovation aimed at social problems and at improving liveability in a broader sense, sensitising them to apply ethical values in their daily lives.
"Over the past few years," says Enzo Taranto, President of the Lifebility association, "we have collected the contributions of more than 2,000 participants, who submitted more than 1,350 projects to the competition, and we have helped to introduce no less than 50-60 young people into the world of work, to whom we have given confidence, receiving in return many brilliant results that continue over time."
The rules of the competition
Two types of individuals may participate in the 2023 edition of the competition:
- natural persons between 18 and 35 years old (at the maximum project delivery date) with Italian citizenship or residence in Italy;
- legal persons registered in the Italian Companies Register as innovative start-ups or innovative SMEs, with a registered office in Italy.
Projects to be submitted must be characterised by a high digitisation and innovation component, and must be proposed within two macro-areas: Health or Ecological Transition.
Project proposals may compete in two categories:
- innovative projects, i.e. at the beginning of their development path;
- advanced projects, i.e. close to the commercialisation phase.
The first category will include ideas in the embryonic phase, which need support for the definition and production of a Business Plan; the second category will include ideas that have already moved on to a realisation phase, through the formalisation of a concrete and well-structured business plan, the development of an MVP (experimental prototype) or the availability of a product ready for the market. Fundamental criteria in the evaluation will be innovation and the impact, potential or expected, on the community, with particular attention to the most fragile individuals.
The complete rules of the initiative, including examples of innovative solutions allowed in the two different macro-areas and abstracts for drafting project descriptions, can be found on the official competition website.
Prizes and awards
The initiative provides different types of prizes for the best projects selected by the competition's final selection committee:
- the winning project in each of the two "advanced" categories will be awarded a cash prize of €7,500 (before tax);
- the winning project in each of the two "innovative" categories will be awarded a cash prize of €5,000 (before tax);
- the finalists in the Ecological Transition macro-area will be offered the possibility of an internship in a major European company, while all finalists will be offered priority participation in Startup Innovation events promoted by national partner organisations of the Lifebility association;
- some of the finalists may be supported for one year by a young entrepreneur whose social objectives are in tune with the submitted project;
- finalists in the "advanced" categories will receive support from an experienced mentor in presenting their projects to funding bodies, while finalists in the "innovative" categories will receive training and mentoring;
- all finalists will be offered a Study Visit at the European Community in Brussels.
The 2023 edition of the competition can also count on the sponsorship of several corporate partners, including:
- the BMW group will offer an internship to one of the finalists of the Ecological Transition macro-area;
- the ELIS consortium will bring finalists to its Demo Days and Innovation Days;
- Confcommercio Giovani Milano will support a young entrepreneur in a selection of finalist projects.
How to join the contest
Participation in the initiative is totally free of charge and takes place via the official website www.lifebilityaward.com in the 'Partecipa al concorso' section. Those wishing to apply can access the site, follow the instructions to register and fill in the online downloadable project form.
The application will be considered valid if it is received at firstname.lastname@example.org by 4 p.m. on April 3rd, 2023 with the following documents:
- completed project form, according to the template provided on the website;
- curriculum vitae of each participating team member;
- identity documents of each participating team member.
In the contest's full regulations you can learn more about the next steps of the selection process, which include the production of a Business Plan and a short video by the finalist teams. The latter will personally present their project to the final selection committee in May, while the winners will be announced at the Lions MD 108 National Convention, scheduled for May 20th, 2023 in Rimini.