According to the EU Energy Poverty Observatory more than 50 million households in the European Union are struggling to attain adequate warmth, pay their utility bills on time and live in homes free of damp and mold. In the CEE region alone, the percentage of people unable to keep home adequately warm in 2016 ranged from 4,7% in Czech Republic to 41,3% in Bulgaria. On top of that, in 2017 the percentage of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the region was well above 20% in most of the countries, with higher figures in Romania (36%) and Bulgaria (39%).

The Social Innovation to Tackle Energy Poverty Solutions Accelerator is an initiative co-created by Ashoka and the Schneider Electric Foundation, under the aegis of Fondation de France, with Enel Romania as local partner.

The aim of the program is to identify and support young innovative ideas and mature projects working in the field of energy poverty in five European countries: Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. After two selection stages 15 finalists will be selected to join a 5-months acceleration program, which will help them improve their strategy and amplify their positive impact on society and on the environment.

After the final selection phase, one winner will be chosen for each country and will be awarded a prize of 3.500 euro.

Event Timeline

Thu, 21 Feb 2019
Feb. 21st (09:00 CET) - April 12th (24:00 CET)
Call for Projects

April 13th - May 1st
Local Selection

From April 13th, 2019 until May 1st, 2019, each country will gather a Local Selection Jury (formed of Schneider Electric Representatives, including the Country President if possible, Ashoka representative, key experts, and other local partners of the project – maximum 5 people) to select the 5 best projects that will be sent for review to the European Selection Jury.

May 2nd - May 15th
European Selection

From May 2nd, 2019 until May 15th, 2019, a European Selection Jury (formed of Schneider Electric and Ashoka European Leadership teams, key experts and partners, Schneider Electric Sustainable Development Director and if possible, Schneider Electric EVP Europe, one former winner – maximum 8 people) will select the 15 best projects. Out of the 15 finalists selected, minimum 10 will be mature ideas and maximum 5 young ideas. 

May 17th, 2019
Announcement of finalists

May 16th - June 11th
Matching Phase

The project team will assess the finalists’ main needs and challenges. Based on the analysis, each finalist will be part of a triad which is made up of a local advisor / mentor (members of the Ashoka network) and a Schneider Electric Employee. 

June 11th – 12th
Launch of the Impact Programme (Prague)

We are planning a 2 days learning experience to kick off the Impact Program. The purpose of this event is to support the finalists to acquire knowledge and tools regarding systems change, social financing, social impact reporting, communications and other relevant topics identified in the selection phases.    

June 11th - November 10th
Impact program

The project team, together with the advisory teams of consultants and mentors, will offer dedicated support to the selected social entrepreneurs for 5 months, for a total of around 300 hours of personalized and specialized mentoring sessions. On top of that, we will plan online sharing meeting among the finalists and thematic webinars delivered by partners of the project. The goal of this phase is to help the social entrepreneurs craft an effective and impactful sustainable strategy or scale up strategy.

November 20th-21st
Final event - announcing the winners (Brussels)

On November 20th-21st we will have 2 days event in Brussels where the finalists meet again and have feedback sessions with experts on their new strategies. Furthermore, they will have the opportunity to pitch their consolidated strategies in front of the European Jury. The Jury will select the 5 winners (one winner per country). 

European Jury

Local Bulgarian Jury

Local Czech Jurors

Local Hungarian Jury

Local Romanian Jury


Pt articol.jpg

After 3 months of searching and selecting projects, people and organisation who tackle the issues of energy poverty, we can proudly announce who are the finalists for this year's edition of Social Innovation to Tackle Energy Poverty Solutions Accelerator, co-created by Ashoka and the 


Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries show ‘High’ to ‘Extreme’ levels of energy poverty, according to a new report released by the Right to Energy (R2E) Coalition on 20 February 2019. Collectively, these countries account for a large share of the estimated >50 million EU citizens who cannot afford enough energy to support their health and well-being.


Beside being one of the most polluted cities in Europe, Katowice was the host for COP24, where leaders and policy makers around the world gathered to talk about the future of our planet and take actions regarding climate change. This was the perfect stage to talk more pragmatically about issues regarding energy poverty in Europe and more specific, in Central and Eastern Europe.



Strategic Partners



At MOVE.BG we drive sustainable social impact via innovation and collaboration. We act as a platform to connect, inspire and accelerate local agents of change to create larger impact.
What we do:
Connect changemakers and provide space for community engagement and idea generation
Shape solutions for sustainable development through innovation and cooperation
Research the potentially successful sectors of the economy and set the trends
Educate by embracing the culture of sharing, collaboration and co-creation
Inspire others by showing the positive examples of change

Enel Romania is a leading private investor in energy, with operations in power distribution and supply as well as renewable energy production, active on the local market since 2005. The company has 3,100 employees and around 3 million business and household end users in the country. The E-Distributie companies operate a network of around 128,000 kilometres in three key areas of the country: Muntenia Sud (including Bucharest), Banat and Dobrogea, accounting for one third of Romania’s electricity distribution market, and are developing an investment programme aimed at securing a proper service for customers, improving the quality and security of the network while also complying with Enel’s environmental standards. Enel Energie and Enel Energie Muntenia are leading suppliers of energy in the country, and their offer includes both electricity and natural gas, as well as value-added services (assistance, lighting and others).

Network Partners

Network Partners are organizations that spread the word about the “Social Innovation to Tackle Energy Poverty” program through their networks so that we can find and select the most innovative social entrepreneurs.



Checz Rebublic, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Bulgaria


Ambassadors are individuals with knowledge of and expertise in the energy field who help us map the local ecosystem and nominate the most innovative social entrepreneurs to apply to join the “Social Innovation to Tackle Energy Poverty” program.



Fülöp Orsolya

Energia Klub, Policy Director, Hungary

Barta Zsombor

The Hungary Green Building Council (HuGBC), President, Hungary

Lévai Gábor

GreenBrands CEO, Hungary

Communication Partners

Communication Partners are organizations that spread the word about the “Social Innovation to Tackle Energy Poverty” program through the media so that we can optimize the number of social entrepreneurs we reach.