Meet the 5 winners selected in Rome!

Ashoka and the Schneider Electric Foundation, in partnership with Enel, announce the 5 final winners of the 2017-2018 “Social Innovation to Tackle Fuel Poverty” programme, during the European Summit in Rome.

On May 24th and 25th, the fifteen winners of the “Social Innovation to Tackle Fuel Poverty” programme 2017 – 2018 gathered in Rome for the two-days final European Summit, that took place at the Instituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, located in the historical center of the city. The social innovators presented their projects and the developments made during the 12-week advisory process. Then, any social entrepreneur had the chance to engage in four one-to-one conversation with selected Strategy Though Partners, that provided them with feedback and suggestions on their scaling-up strategies.

The European Summit also hosted a public event, where The Schneider Electric Foundation and Ashoka, introduced the effort made to promote energy sustainability and tackle fuel poverty in Europe and discussed the best practices currently available, with the speakers: Gilles Vermot Desroches (Schneider Electric, Sustainability SVP and General Delegate of the Foundation), Arnaud Mourot (Ashoka Europe Co-Director), Alessandro Valera (Ashoka Italy Director), Bettina Mirabile (Enel, Sustainability Projects and Practice Sharing) and Marylin Smith (The Energy Action Project).

After the panel discussion, five projects from the five different countries, with the highest potential for social impact were awarded. Thanks to the Schneider Electric Foundation, the winners will benefit from additional financial incentives and investments, technical competences, and other forms of in-kind support for up to 10.000 euro. The selected social innovators are:


From Germany: Marlene Potthoff and Eva Marx, Project Coordinators of “Stromspar-Check” – an initiative in collaboration between the German Caritas Association and the German Federation of Energy and Climate Protection Agencies (eaD), to offer an energy-saving check that provides cost-free support to low-income households in Germany.

From Greece: Argyro Stavroulaki, Deputy Director of EKPIZO – a customers’ association “The quality of life” to protect consumers rights and improve their quality of life. Its lobbying efforts aim to encourage the government and the Energy Regulatory Authority to implement EU and national legislation. They also help their members with legal out-of-court actions to get back money that has been illegally withheld by companies.

From Italy: Alberto Gastaldo, CEO of Energia Positiva – a cooperative enabling citizens to become prosumers of different clean energy production systems (e.g. photovoltaic, wind turbines, and hydroelectric power) and therefore decreasing the costs associated to meeting their energy needs. It aims to facilitate a change in the mindset of consumers to adopt green-behaviours and reach critical mass for the transition towards renewables in Italy.

From Spain, Cecilia Foronda, Climate Change and Energy Manager at ECODES – an organisation that runs the project “No home without energy”, which offers a technological solution to overcome fuel poverty. Its website offers a questionnaire that manages to gather social, household, and energy contract data from vulnerable people and returns a personalised report with advice on how to reduce energy consumption and energy costs. It also offers an interactive map that allows anyone to find initiatives and subsidies to tackle fuel poverty in their city of region.

From Portugal, Rita Marouço, on behalf of Nuno Brito Jorge, Board President of Coopérnico – a green energy cooperative that combines sustainability, ethical investment, and social support. Its members collectively invest in solar power projects that are owned by the cooperative and installed on the roofs of social support organisations that often struggle to cover their own energy costs.