Essence Awards and Phase Innovate have teamed up to provide teens and young adults with the opportunity to come up with innovative app solution that solves a social issue in Ireland.

Ireland, like any other country, has social problems that need solving. At the moment, the spotlight is on key areas like Housing and Homelessness, Education, Worker Wages , Brexit, Rural Desolation, Workplace diversity, Alcohol and Drugs, Mental Health, Foods, Cultural Dynamic and Healthcare.

We want you to design an app prototype that will help alleviate the symptoms of a social issue that you have noticed. With a clear purpose, your app can tackle these problems in a number of ways. Will it be an app that seeks to inform the public about an issue? Connects people? Automates or digitalises manual tasks? Raise money for a cause?
We can't wait to find out.

The Challenge:

‘Research the current social issues in Ireland, choose one and develop
a unique idea for an innovative app that will help solve the problem’**


Teens (Aged 12-16):

Create a 3-4 minute pitch video explaining:
Why you chose the problem How you went about researching the issue How your app worksWho your app will benefit and impact
Create a demo video that captures your prototype in action

Create a Marvel App Prototype of your app idea and record a demonstration of the app capabilities. (Tutorial )

Young Adults (Aged 17-21):

Create a 3-4 minute pitch video explaining:

Why you chose the problem How you went about researching the issue Who your app will benefit and impact
Write a 1,500 word (max.) report explaining:
The 3 points aboveHow you plan to commercialise and increase awareness of your app
Create a demo video that captures your prototype in action

Create a Marvel App Prototype of your app idea and record a demonstration of the app capabilities.


WINNER: €1,000

(For each category)

Competition Schedule

12/09/2018 Application Opens
09/11/2018Application Closes
16/11/2018Shortlisted Entries Announced
30/11/2018Winners Announced at the Global Essence Award Dinner

Essence Award Night:
Friday 30th November 2018
The Hilton Hotel, Dublin Airport Northern Cross,
Malahide Road, D.17
6:00 PM


Meet the people who will decide on the best app solution based on how impactful, innovative and practical the idea is.

Support Resources

Social tech app inspirations:

SocialTech Apps
Marvel App Tutorials:
Tutorial 1Tutorial 2


1. I am not good with tech, can I participate?
Of course! The theme of the competition is solving social issues in Ireland. What's most important is you create an idea for an app that is impactful, innovative and practical. There are tutorials and live help sessions for those who are unfamiliar with Marvel App but if you are really struggling with technology you can draw a wireframe of your app idea on paper and submit that to the form.

2. What do I need to submit?
You will be eligible for judging ONLY if you submit ALL of the following:

Pitch Video (Post on youtube or vimeo and share link)Marvel App Demo Video (Youtube or Vimeo)App Name & DescriptionCommercialisation Plan (if you are a Young Adult)

3. What happens if my app idea is very similar but not the same as one that already exists?
Remember that you app idea has to be tailored and suited to members of the Irish population. This involves researching the issue and gauging the impact your app will have in Ireland. Generic solutions won't be favourably looked upon.

There's nothing wrong with taking inspiration from other apps or building on what another app does. If we do however notice that your app is strikingly similar to one that already exists, we will have to disqualify your application. Make sure to research your competition!

4. What happens after The SocialTech Competition is over?
Whether you win or not we strongly suggest you join the PhaseInnovate coding club that launches in January to transform your prototype to a real working app.

Judging rubric

The problem described is a relevant social issue in Ireland Evidence through facts and statistics of the problem they are addressing are providedThe app effectively addresses the problem that was outlined
The prototype is practical, fully functional and isn't missing out on key featuresThe app prototype is user-centric and can be easily used by target usersThe app prototype solution is unique
The entrant clearly communicates the problem they are addressingThe entrant presents a compelling argument to support the solution they are proposingThe entrant's passion and energy for solving the problem is evident in their pitch delivery.The pitch is specific and to the point

The commercialisation plan reflects a long term and clear strategy to achieve the plan. It includes an assessment of the market, research on competitors, does not duplicate an existing product offering.The market research portion of the business plan is thoroughly researched. Facts and figures, survey results, as well as the market size and segmentation are incorporated.There is a viable business model and the reason for selecting it is explained. For example: free, freemium, subscription, or paid.They have included a marketing plan
Overall Impression:
You are convinced the app is feasible and that it can succeedEach component of the submission was well thought outThere is a cohesive and well communicated story about the problem and solutionThe app addresses the defined problem in an original way.The app stands out from others.