Rising Star Competition

Events / SEWF23

Rising Star Competition

Deadline: 4 September or when 150 entries have been received (whichever happens first)

Calling young social enterprise leaders and founders from Europe! Are you making a difference in your community? SEWF is searching for a young rising star who is determined to leave a lasting positive impact on people and planet. If you’re driven, passionate and dedicated to creating a better world, this competition is your chance to showcase your passion and ideas on a global stage and be recognised as a rising star within the social enterprise movement. 

Apply now

About the Rising Star Competition

The SEWF Rising Star Competition is here to recognise and showcase the impactful work of incredible young social enterprise leaders in Europe by inviting them to share their stories and social enterprise journey with a global audience. 

This year, one (1) SEWF Rising Star will be selected to speak at the world’s largest gathering of social enterprises, SEWF23, happening in Amsterdam, the Netherlands from 11-12 October. They will receive travel and accommodation support to attend the event in person and connect with changemakers and experts from across the world. With limited resources, young people are making extraordinary efforts and impact across multiple sectors, while joining forces with both public and private sectors. The Rising Star Competition will recognise one young social entrepreneur going above and beyond to shape a better world. 


As the winner 

  • You’ll get an opportunity to speak on the main stage as part of the Rising Stars session at this year’s Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF23) in Amsterdam 11-12 October. 
  • Receive an SEWF23 Physical Pass and up to 600 EUR contribution towards your travel and accommodation in Amsterdam. 
  • Increase your knowledge about social entrepreneurship and meet social enterprise leaders, decision-makers, investors and more from the Netherlands and all over the world. 
  • Share your insights and social enterprise story with a global audience .

* Complimentary SEWF23 Digital Passes will also be given to the first 20 applicants who apply and meet the eligibility criteria. 


To be eligible, you must:

  • be between 18-30 years old 
  • be based in Europe
  • be available to attend SEWF23 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands from 11-12 October 2023 
  • be the leader and/or founder of a social enterprise  
  • your social enterprise must have been trading for 1-5 years

How to apply

Step one

Record a short video (up to 59 seconds) of yourself speaking about why you are excited about SEWF23 and what you hope to contribute as a speaker. All videos must be in English, which is the main language of SEWF23.

Step two

Share your video on Instagram or LinkedIn (choose one). Be sure to tag SEWF to your post either on Instagram or LinkedIn and include the two hashtags #SEWFRisingStar and #SEWF23

Step three

Complete the short online application form to confirm your eligibility and include the link to your video.

Apply now

The winner of the SEWF Rising Star Competition alongside the winners of the 20 complimentary Digital Passes will be announced in early September.


Which countries are eligible?
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Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom

What is a social enterprise?
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A social enterprise is a business that puts people and planet first. This means the social and environmental impact is prioritised over profits to owners or shareholders. Learn more about what a social enterprise is as well as the shared values and principles every social enterprise should possess. 

How will the winner be selected?
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The winner will be selected by the SEWF23 Programme Co-production group, which includes representatives from SEWF, Amsterdam Impact, Social Enterprise NL and Euclid Network. 

My social enterprise has not started selling yet. Am I eligible?
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No. You must be trading (selling products and/or services) for 1-5 years. Event participants will want to hear about your social impact not just about your start-up struggle. There are many competitions for start-ups and entrepreneurs, our focus is on the young people that go on to establish or lead social enterprises

Will the winner be required to deliver the Rising Star presentation on stage in English?
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Yes, this is a requirement.

Will the €600 be paid in advance to enable the winner to travel?
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The award is for up to €600. This will either be paid directly to the travel and accommodation providers by SEWF or paid to the winner after the event on production of receipts.