Competition opens looking for innovative ideas tackling disability issues.

July 2, 2019

2 July 2019

An annual competition looking for innovative solutions to social issues has opened for applications today. The Social Innovation Competition offers three £5000 awards (including the Young Social Innovator category open to applicants aged 16–30), combined with tailored support to refine and develop these ideas.


Focused on a different theme each year, the Social Innovation Competition’s theme for 2019 is ‘Individuals affected by disability’. Successful entries will show that their ideas involve innovative ideas and solutions to problems encountered by individuals affected by a disability. This could be through giving them access to new opportunities, helping them to overcome barriers and inequalities, or improving their quality of life.

Delivered by social enterprise agency Firstport, the Social Innovation Competition has already supported 15 ideas to get off the ground since 2016. Previous winners include social technology DOT-TO-DOT, organic local food network Woodside Arran and multi-sensory audiovisual pop-up space the Soundplay Dome.

One of last year’s winners, the Soundplay Dome is the brainchild of Ewan Sinclair and business partner Bal Cook. A five metre-diameter geodesic dome, the Soundplay Dome uses music, animation, and interactive technology so users can explore, create and communicate through music, movement and play. Ewan and Bal discovered that the dome provided scope for meaningful creative expression and experimentation for people who are often marginalised by their circumstances, such as those with additional support needs.

Ewan Sinclair, a co-founder of the Soundplay Dome, said:

Winning the Social Innovation Competition has been integral to our development over the last 10 months. The support from the team has been excellent and the funding has allowed us to really work on our brand identity, website, and marketing strategy. The coverage from the awards and ongoing support from Firstport has widened our audience and positioned our work within the growing community of social enterprise across Scotland.

Accessibility has been at the heart of our social enterprise from the beginning and we feel this is an ideal starting point to make work that is inclusive and open to new audiences.

Josiah Lockhart, Chief Executive of Firstport, said:

Social innovation may not be a familiar concept to many but these ideas are all around us. From the Big Issue magazine to the Fairtrade movement, social innovations have the capacity to change people’s lives for the better.

About a third of all adults and 10% of children in Scotland are disabled, and those disabilities affect not only the individuals suffering from them but their carers and loved ones too. There is a huge opportunity for social innovators to make a difference by finding new or better ways of removing barriers to access and participation and increasing the ability of anyone affected by a disability to enjoy a fulfilling life.

Entries to the Social Innovation competition open on 2 July and close at midday on Monday 16 September. For more information and to apply visit the Social Innovation page.