Best Agers - Using the knowledge and experience of.. (Best Agers)
Best Agers - Using the knowledge and experience of professionals in their primes to foster business and skills development in the Baltic Sea Region
Date du début: 30 nov. 2009,
Date de fin: 15 déc. 2012
With demographic change and the current economic crisis looming, the cities and regions of the Baltic Sea Region have to find creative ways of disclosing and utilizing unused opportunities. One of these hidden potentials are the people in the prime of their lives – the so called “Best Agers” (defined in the project as people aged 55 and older). As previous projects have shown, the BSR population will rapdily become older and the 55+ age groups will experience large growth rates until the year 2020. The result is a pool of older professionals who are healthier than ever, well-educated and motivated and who can be mobilised to counteract the negative effects of demographic change – shrinking regional workforces and the so-called “brain drain”. So far, this enormous potential has hardly been utilized. 19 Partners from 8 different countries will join forces to form a cross-generational innovation environment, where Best Agers work together with different age groups in the fields of business and skills development to generate new ideas and share their expertise and experience. Building upon a transsectoral partner structure, capitalizing on the results of earlier projects and existing networks (such as senior expert services and business angels), the partners will analyse the present preconditions and structures regarding Best Agers’ involvement in regional labour markets as well as in innovation and entrepreneurship activities in the BSR. The project will show how Best Agers can make their contribution in these fields by - remaining in employment instead of retiring early (WP 3), - committing their time and energy to voluntary work for the benefit of SME (WP 4), young entrepreneurs, students and pupils (WP 5) or - improving their skills and realising their own business ideas (WP 6). The project will survey successful approaches and good-practice examples, develop them further and transfer them to the partner regions with low-key Best Ager involvement. In all four thematic work packages, partners will form small groups and jointly develop, implement and evaluate 13 innovative pilot initiatives. Reinforced by an ambitious communication and dissemination strategy (which features a documentary film, a web-based matching service portal and a "Best Agers Projects Fair", these pilot initiatives will help to raise awareness of the manifold capabilities and potentials of the members of the generation 55+ and change the widespread perception that older people are a burden to society. Putting the Best Agers’ knowledge and experience to use will keep them in the centre of society even after retirement and turn them into a valuable resource for the economy and society throughout the BSR. Achievements: Whereas at first glance it might seem that older people – the so-called best agers – were the main beneficiaries of this project, this is only half the truth. By helping older professionals find a role for themselves at the end of their working career, the project allowed many other groups to benefit: students and start-up teams who were supported by seasoned business experts; fragile employees who received support from a qualified but non-professional mentor; NGOs in the social sphere who were consulted by best-aged citizen coaches; older inventors who learned from their peers. Whether in the labour market, in innovation activities or in social life: the project has shown that appreciation and positive attitudes play a large role in motivating older people to stay active longer. The documentary film “Best Agers – Meeting Demographic Change” tells four impressive stories of such best agers who contribute much to the economic and social life of their respective regions. The first phase of the project was mainly dedicated to research in order to build an analytical framework for project. It tackled topics such as: - Demographic outlook for the Baltic Sea Region (regional profiles and policy frameworks) - Continued employability of "best agers" - Costs and benefits of "best ager" employment - Attitude monitoring among "best agers" and employers - Senior entrepreneurship: motivating factors and obstacles. The results of this research have been presented to the public at numerous conferences and workshops. Interest in the project’s findings has been strong, particularly with regard to older people’s situation on labour markets. For this reason a booklet with key messages for political decision makers and other stakeholders has been compiled and published. The research results have also been incorporated into the development of toolboxes, curricula and fourteen pilot initiatives with the aim to raise economic activity of the "best agers". In Latvia and Lithuania senior advisor networks were established that will continue to run after the project’s end. Older business experts teamed up with young innovation teams in business competitions in Latvia, Lithuania and Russia and passed on their know-how in three webinar series on business planning. Experienced mentors assisted family businesses in succession planning. All these pilots are described in a second booklet. Many of the mentors were qualified for their tasks in pilot trainings that were based on jointly developed curricula. The three toolboxes compiled by the project will help organisations to acquire motivated and skilled volunteers and older entrepreneurs to realise their own business ideas. Finally, the web platform www.biiugi.eu provides a meeting, matching and cooperation place for all these professionals, experts and idea owners, who can thus work in a cross-generational innovation environment to help shape the future of a competitive Baltic Sea Region.
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