Open Call

Become a TCBL Associate!

We are looking for businesses and enterprises, large and small – even individuals may apply – in any way connected with design, production, manufacturing and distribution in the Textiles and Clothing (T&C) sector, who are interested in becoming part of the TCBL business innovation ecosystem.

You and your company can become one of the founding members of a global community open to anyone interested in innovating business systems to build a more inclusive, sustainable and prosperous production ecosystem in Europe and throughout the world.

To apply, first register as a candidate: the deadline for registration is March 31st, 2016. You will then be contacted by one of the TCBL project partners so you will be able to give us further information about your innovation ideas and plans. A structured evaluation process (see below) will then select the people and businesses who can make the best contribution to the TCBL innovation ecosystem, to become part of the first round of TCBL Associate Business Pilots.

You can become a Pilot Candidate in one of two ways:

  • If you are not a member of the TCBL community, sign up by clicking here and complete the questions for candidate pilots.
  • If you are already a member, you can edit your profile by clicking here to select "Pilot Candidate" for the first question and complete the three last questions about your candidacy.

Why become an Associate Business Pilot?

As a TCBL Pilot associate, your company will:

  • Join a business community of innovating enterprises, all under the TCBL label
  • Become part of a closed user group that will test innovative value chains and approaches to the revitalisation of the T&C sector.
  • Work together with TCBL partners to co-design innovation services best fit for business like yours.

Once activated starting July 1st, 2016, as an Associate Business Pilot in TCBL your business will primarily interact with the project’s starting network of Business Labs, also selected in a parallel call, who will be launching their explorations of inspiring and stimulating ideas for business model innovation. You will probably also want to explore new partnerships and value chain relationships with other Associate Pilots, in an experimental setting designed to lower the risk of innovation. Your business will be assigned to one of the TCBL project partners, who will help you navigate among the network of Labs and Pilots and find the best resources and opportunities. In addition, the majority of project partners also offer business support and training services as a part of their normal activities.

Participation as an Associate Business Pilot in the TCBL ecosystem is free of charge and implies no formal obligation to the TCBL project consortium nor to the European Commission. This is the first of four yearly Calls planned for the TCBL project until 2019. The results of your business interactions within the TCBL ecosystem will be assessed following the first 9 months of experimentation, in March 2017. Enterprises who are actively interacting with the TCBL Business Labs and engaging in business model innovation processes will be upgraded to the role of TCBL Members. This gives the additional benefit of participating together with TCBL consortium partners in the governance of the TCBL business ecosystem, co-design of its services, and evaluation and selection for the successive Calls.

Selection Process

Evaluation of applications will follow a rigorous peer review process, and will be based primarily on the coherence of your business ideas with a set of principles we have identified as the common traits of those interested in innovating together for a sustainable future. We have also identified some possible scenarios for the kinds of innovative business systems that can be made possible within the TCBL ecosystem, to stimulate and guide your imagination.

The evaluation procedures will be managed under the responsibility of the TCBL project consortium, in respect of principles of openness, fairness, and transparency. There is no set maximum limit for the number of Associate Business Pilots to accept, so the evaluation is not competitive between proposals but mainly a filter of readiness to innovate.

Evaluation Criteria

Individual proposals will first be evaluated on the basis of the general quality and originality of the proposed contribution to the TCBL Ecosystem. The following detailed criteria will then be evaluated and clustered according to the seven TCBL principles, with scoring weighed on an equal basis as that of the general evaluation.


  1. Ability to clearly identify problems of relevance for the T&C industry.
  2. Interest in engagement with innovation initiatives.
  3. Willingness to learn and experiment.


  1. Market relevance of issues raised.
  2. Alignment with relevant trends.
  3. Added business value.


  1. Commitment to the environment.
  2. Commitment to durable design.
  3. Scalability of sustainability approach proposed.


  1. Disciplinary and cultural richness.
  2. Orientation to customer needs.
  3. Business model innovation potential.


  1. Contribution to shared resources and services.
  2. Willingness to adopt open innovation.
  3. Commitment to transparency.


  1. Soundness of authorship, IPR and privacy policies.
  2. Respect for supply chain information of business partners.
  3. Social responsibility and fair trade practices.


  1. Availability of appropriate resources, machinery, and facilities to do the job.
  2. Capacity to implement business projects.
  3. Quality assurance.

In the final evaluation of all proposals, consideration will be given to the overall balance of gender and cultural representation, activity sectors, geographical coverage, etc.

Selection Procedure

The selection procedure will involve teams of 3 reviewers each, with each reviewer belonging to different TCBL partner organisations. Your proposal will therefore have 3 readers, none of whom will be from your country. Each team will evaluate from 8-15 proposals each, applying a common evaluation matrix based on the criteria below. The teams will first reach a team-level consensus on individual evaluation results and then compare their results to those of the other teams, adjusting if necessary to ensure coherent scoring across teams. The final selection will take the distribution criteria listed below into account, if and when necessary.

The outcomes of the evaluation process will be communicated to applicants by May 10th, and a public, anonymized evaluation report distributed by end May. Unsuccessful applicants will receive a note with suggestions on how to improve their proposals for future calls, while successful applicants will simply receive notice of membership, with no further details on the evaluation results.

Successful applicants will be invited to participate in the first annual TCBL Conference on June 20-21 in Huddersfield, UK. Among the applicants, 5 exemplary proposers will be identified by the Conference organizing committee as invited speakers in one of the Conference workshop sessions, with reimbursement of travel and subsistence expenses. On that occasion, the results of the first Call will be discussed with the TCBL international Advisory Board (consisting of experts from the World Bank, the Euratex association, the Tuscany Regional Government, the Institut Français de la Mode, Fashion Revolution, and industry representatives) for strategic guidance on the way forward.