Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve collected some of the common questions we receive about the H&M Foundation and Global Change Award here.

Global Change Award

How to apply

When will the Global Change Award open for new applications?

The sixth edition of GCA is open for applications August 25, 2021 – October 20, 2021. To receive updates, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter (sign up here).

What are the rules of the Global Change Award?

This is outlined in the Terms & Conditions.

Who can apply?

See the answer under “Ideas & applications”.

Does it cost anything to participate?

No, participating is free of charge.

Can I submit multiple entries?

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

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

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

Who have won the Global Change Award previously?

All winners are presented here.


Selecting the winners

How many winners are selected?

We select five winners who get to share a grant of 1 million euros and get access to the one-year-long GCA Impact Accelerator. In addition, we also select one Early Bird winner among those applicants who apply during the first half of the application period. The Early Bird winner is invited to join the five winners of the Global Change Award on one of the trips which is part of their one-year-long GCA Impact Accelerator. They also get to participate in all digital sessions of the accelerator programme. The Early Bird winners does not receive a financial grant.

What do I win?

  • Share a grant of 1 million euros to develop your innovation.
  • Access to the one-year-long tailormade GCA Impact Accelerator, provided by the H&M Foundation, Accenture and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. This includes support enabling the winners to accelerate towards scale and impact.
  • Global visibility, recognition and validation.
  • Once the Accelerator programme is up, all winners are invited to join the Alumni community with past GCA winners, who share tips, support and network with each other.

Learn more.

What is expected from the winners?

We expect you to develop your idea according to the plan submitted with the entry to contribute to making the fashion industry a planet positive one. We also expect you to take active part in the one-year-long GCA Impact Accelerator.

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.

What is Early Bird?

Anyone who applies within the first half of the application period can become an Early Bird Winner.

The Early Bird winner will be invited to join the five winners of the Global Change Award on one of the trips which is part of their one-year-long GCA Impact Accelerator. The trip, in line with current global travel restrictions, offers exclusive industry insights as well as opportunities to network and learn more about the global commons and the fashion value chain. The Early Bird winners can also participate in the digital sessions of the accelerator programme.

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

The Early Bird winner is selected based on the general Global Change Award criteria (Read more below under “What are the criteria?”). Details are outlined in the Terms & Conditions.


Ideas & applications

Who can apply?

Innovation knows no national borders and we believe these early stage ideas can come from anyone, anywhere. Therefore, to reach as many great minds as possible the challenge is open to any individual and groups of up to four people over 18 years of age anywhere in the world. It is also open for institutions, organisations and social businesses, as well as for joint ventures, consortiums and other types of partnerships.

Please note that your entry must be in English and that all communication including the GCA Impact Accelerator will be in English.

Who can not apply?

The 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 Group, H&M Foundation, Accenture and KTH Innovation including hired consultants cannot apply.

We are looking for new and early stage ideas so you can not apply with an already proven and existing innovation. You must also be over 18 years old to apply.

Are there any limitations to the duration of a project?

No. The duration of a project is irrelevant if the impact is lasting.

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

At the early stage, the idea has not yet been proven. It can still be only a drawing on a piece of paper. This stage is very critical and where many start-ups fail, due to lack of funding, market knowledge or perhaps because the team isn’t right.     

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.

It is at this earliest stage where the non-profit H&M Foundation can provide the much-needed resources, access and skills and thereby make the biggest difference.

What kind of ideas are you looking for?

We want to find tomorrow’s game-changers – early stage innovations that can accelerate the shift from a linear to a planet positive fashion industry. This means changing how raw material is produced, how energy is used, and the way garments are currently designed, produced, shipped, bought, used and recycled by adding disruptive technology, processes, or new business models.

Learn more about the global commons and the connection to the fashion industry.

On which criteria do you score the entries?

The evaluation of our winners is based on the following criteria:

  • The idea’s potential to accelerate the shift from a linear to a planet positive fashion industry, to address the global commons and protect the planet and living conditions.
  • The idea’s potential to scale and create impact.
  • The financial viability of the idea.
  • The novelty of the idea.
  • How well suited the team is to make it happen.
  • Whether winning the grant would make a difference.

Check Terms & Conditions for full details.


The Impact Advisors/Expert Panel

Who are the members of the Impact Advisors for the Global Change Award?

The Impact Advisors are presented here.

What is the responsibility of the Impact Advisors?

Their role is to provide expertise to identify and help select the winners of the Global Change Award. They are chosen for their extensive knowledge within entrepreneurship, sustainability, innovation and fashion.

Are the Impact Advisors getting paid?

No. All Impact Advisors are doing this pro bono and are not getting paid.


Equity and intellectual property right/patents

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

No.

Why not?

The H&M Foundation’s role is to provide that critical boost to the innovators at the earliest stages where it is most needed. It is up to the winners to decide who to partner with. Different innovations need different support and it would not 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.

Also, the H&M Foundation initiates this challenge to make the entire fashion industry planet positive – 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.


H&M Foundation

What is the H&M Foundation?

The H&M Foundation is an independent non-profit global foundation headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. It is privately funded by the Stefan Persson family, founders and main owners of the H&M group. Founded to fast track the achievements of the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030, H&M Foundation uses collaboration and innovation to co-create, fund and share solutions for the world’s most urgent challenges. To help safeguard the welfare of humanity we’re ushering the fashion industry to become planet positive, and we accelerate development for inclusive societies. Since 2013, the family has donated SEK 1.5 billion.

How much money has the Persson family donated to H&M Foundation?

Since 2013, the Stefan Persson family has donated 1.5 billion Swedish krona ($200 million/€163 million) to the H&M Foundation.

Can I apply for a grant or donation at the H&M Foundation?

The H&M Foundation is a closed foundation, therefore it’s not possible to apply for contributions from us. We have a thorough process to proactively find the right partners matching our specific strategy within our focus areas.

How are funding decisions made?

We carry out comprehensive due diligence when identifying a project. The project must be clearly connected with one of our focus areas. A possible project is always presented to the board which will make the final decision of a donation.

How are projects and partners selected?

The H&M Foundation connects with partners and initiate projects that fit the profile of what we identify as prioritized in each individual case. We work by invitation only.

How does the H&M Foundation follow up on funded projects?

We follow up each project by comprehensive reports every sixth month. On top of this each project is regularly visited and reviewed in the field.

What does the organisation of the H&M Foundation look like?

The H&M Foundation consists of a small team of fourteen people. The team is based in Stockholm, Sweden.