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Frequently Asked Questions
— How to apply
How do I enter the challenge?

Global Change Award 2020 is open for applications 28 August-16 October 2019 on


When is the deadline?

The deadline for Global Change Award 2020 is 16 October 2019 23:00 GMT.

What is the Early Bird competition?

Anyone who applies before 18 September 2019 (23:00 GMT) will automatically have the chance of winning our Early Bird competition 2020.

The Early Bird winner will be invited to join the five winners of the Global Change Award in one of the trips which is part of their one-year Innovation Accelerator. The trip offers exclusive industry insight as well as opportunities to network and learn more about circularity and the fashion value chain.

Applying as an Early Bird does not affect your chances of winning the Global Change Award.

The Early Bird winner is crowned based on the general Global Change Award criteria (Read more below under “What are the criteria?”). Note that applying as an Early Bird and winning the study trip does not affect your chances of winning the Global Change Award. See Terms & Conditions for full details.

When is the winner of the Early Bird competition announced?

The winner of the Early Bird competition 2020 will be announced during spring 2020.

What are the rules of Global Change Award?

See the Terms & Conditions. Some common questions are answered below.

Does it cost to participate?

No, participating is free of charge.

Can I edit, adjust or add things to my application?

Yes, you can save and update your application right up until you click the button Submit. After you clicked Submit edits are no longer available.

Can I submit multiple entries?

No, only one entry per person is allowed. See more in Terms & Conditions.

Can I compete with an idea that I have already participated with in another challenge?

Yes, but remember that you must own all rights connected to the idea.

When will winners be presented?

The winners of Global Change Award 2020 will be presented on 1 April 2020. Read more about the process of selecting the winners below.

— Selecting the winners
Describe the process of selecting the five winners.

The H&M Foundation together with KTH and Accenture will screen all entries and shortlist 20 selected ideas during October and November 2019. These 20 teams will be contacted personally by H&M Foundation and asked to prepare a short information deck and participate in interviews during December 2019. 15 ideas are then selected as finalists and presented to our international expert panel who selects the five winners. The winners are formally approved by the board of H&M Foundation in January 2020 and they are publicly announced on April 1st 2020. Please note, due to the large amount of applications H&M Foundation will not personally contact all applicants entered the challenge.

How will you inform the winners?

H&M Foundation contacts the five winners by telephone in January 2020.

What do the five winners receive?
  • Share a grant of €1 million to develop their ideas.
  • Access to the one year long tailor-made Innovation Accelerator Program, provided by H&M Foundation, Accenture and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. The accelerator includes immersion weeks in Stockholm, New York and Hong Kong.
  • Global recognition and validation.

Learn more.

What is expected from the winners?

We expect you to develop your idea according to the plan submitted with the entry in order to make fashion circular. We also expect you to take active part in the one-year Innovation Accelerator Program.

H&M Foundation will require each winner to submit a short report on progress and use of funds after 6 months and after 12 months. See more details in Terms & Conditions.

— Ideas & applications
Who can apply?

Innovation knows no national borders and we believe these early stage ideas can rest in anyone’s head anywhere on the planet, so in an effort to reach as many great minds as possible the challenge is open to any individual and groups of up to 4 people over 18 years of age anywhere in the world. It is also open for institutions, organizations and social business.

Please note that your entry has to be in English and that all communication including the Innovation Accelerator Program will be in English.

Who can not apply?

Global Change Award is not open for solely commercial entities.

To keep the integrity of the competition, employees of H&M group or any entities owned in full or in part by H&M, H&M Foundation, Accenture and KTH Innovation including hired consultants can’t apply.

We are looking for new and early stage ideas so you can’t apply with an already proven and existing innovation.

What do you mean by “early stage ideas/innovation?” Why is it a requirement for applying?

It is at this earliest stage where the H&M Foundation can provide the much needed resources, access and skills and thereby make the biggest difference. We are certain there are a vast number of great ideas out there but access to capital, know-how and support is scarce and many great ideas never get to see the light of day. The H&M Foundation wants to find these ideas and give them the support needed to make a difference.

What kind of ideas are you looking for?

We want to find tomorrow’s game-changers – innovations that have the potential to shift the fashion industry from its linear approach to a circular one, to protect the planet and our living conditions. This means changing the way garments are currently designed and produced, shipped, bought, used and recycled by adding disruptive technology, processes, or new business models. Learn more about circular fashion.

For example, we’re looking for innovations connected to waste – how resources can be recovered and turned into material, products or services, or how waste can be eliminated in the first place. Ideas that support a climate positive fashion industry, for example creating clothes, services and manufacturing processes that are not only neutral but actually good for the environment. We’re also looking for new materials and innovations that use digital technologies such as AI, machine learning, robotics or connectivity to make fashion circular, as well as ideas that focus on improving the environmental footprint of a product after it has been bought.

This year, we keep an extra eye on

  • Consumer-centric Innovation – innovations that improve the sustainable footprint of fashion from when it has landed in a shopping bag until the end of its lifetime, as well as nudging consumers to take more sustainable actions.
  • Digital & Data – innovations that uses technology and data in creative ways that will significantly reduce the environmental impact of fashion.
  • Circular Design – innovations that span over the whole ecosystem of fashion, or details of it, that are enabling the valuable and limited resources to continue in a closed loop, instead of one-time use.

And, if the innovation involves an extra layer of social value, we like it even more.

On which criteria do you score the entries?

The evaluation will be based on the following criteria:

  • the Entry’s potential to make fashion circular and thereby protect the planet and lead to improved living conditions for people;
  • impact and scalability
  • is it economically sustainable
  • is it novel
  • how well suited is the team to make it happen
  • would winning the grant make a difference

Check Terms & Conditions for full details.

— The Expert Panel
Who are the members of the Expert Panel for Global Change Award?

The Expert Panel is presented here.

What is the responsibility of the Expert Panel?

Their role is to provide expertise to identify and help select the winners of the Global Change Award. The members of the Expert Panel are chosen for their extensive knowledge in the areas of entrepreneurship, sustainability, innovation and fashion.

Are the panel members getting paid?

No. All members of the Expert Panel are doing this pro bono and are not getting paid.

— Equity and intellectual property right/patents
Will the H&M Foundation take any equity or intellectual property rights in the innovations?

No and nor will H&M group.

Why not?

The H&M Foundations role is to provide that critical boost to the innovators at the earliest stages were its most needed. Different innovations need different support and it wouldn’t be wise to limit or force an innovation into a certain partnership. The mission is to support the development of the innovation and to help it stand on its own.

Will H&M take any equity or intellectual property rights in the innovations?

It’s up to the winners to decide who to partner with. Different innovations need different support and it wouldn’t be wise to limit or force an innovation into a certain partnership. Also, the H&M Foundation initiates this competition to make the entire fashion industry circular – not just H&M group.

Parts of my application will include sensitive info about my idea, what will happen to that info?

The Terms & Conditions and Privacy Notice explains this in detail but to keep it simple: do not send us critical unprotected details. Instead, focus on the bigger picture in your application. All entrants understand that the H&M Foundation may use any information submitted for the sole purpose of promoting the competition and the participants. And remember, we want you to succeed and we want you to own the IP.

— Submission issues
I did not receive a confirmation email after signing up, what do I do?

Check spam, otherwise please report at

I'm having problems loading the application form and I think it may be a browser issue. What browser should I use?

The latest versions of Chrome, Firefox and Safari or Internet Explorer.

Global Change Award is an innovation challenge initiated by H&M Foundation, aiming to make fashion circular.
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