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Tackling the challenges of an ageing population

Allia is part of the Seas2Grow project, a collaboration with partners in France, Holland and Belgium to find ways to help older people stay in their homes longer, safely and independently. 

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the project aims to foster and accelerate the development of innovation in the silver economy. The “Silver Economy” is the economic opportunities arising from the public and consumer expenditure related to population ageing and the specific needs of the population over 50.

Building on the European Commission’s 2020 strategy, the initiative engages stakeholders across the four regions to establish collaborative networks and tools to improve innovation performance of companies and to create a cross-border silver economy ‘cluster’ with a transferable and replicable economic model.

April saw the final selection of the first innovations to take advantage of the newly created cross-border innovation accelerator targeted at businesses with a focus on new products and services for the growing older population.

Applications from entrepreneurs and innovative businesses from the UK, Netherlands, France and Belgium competed for just six places in the first cohort to benefit from the further development and testing of their innovative goods and services with representative users in up to four countries and expert advice on their business models and financing needs. Final selections include:

  • a speech intelligibility platform for hearing impairment developed by Goshawk, a British company;
  • an intelligent sensor system which alerts family and carers if an elderly person living alone diverts significantly from their normal routine developed by a Dutch company called Sensara;
  • a mobile companion robot with state-of-the-art interactive facial and vocal recognition created by a French company called Yumii;
  • an indoor walker that combines the functionality of many different types of walkers into one simple design from a company called Freya Products in Belgium;
  • a mobile and web platform which helps families better organise their visits and contacts with an elderly relative who lives alone developed by a French company called Familities; and finally,
  • washable underwear for early to mid-stage incontinence problems engineered by a company from Belgium called Entusia.

These innovations and their creators benefit from de minimis awards of between Eur 25,000 and Eur 55,000. They will begin their journey through a programme of testing, further functional and technical development of their product or service and help and advice from panels of elderly testers, innovation and industry experts and business advisors.

For more information on the SEAS 2 Grow silver economy innovation accelerator programme and to register your interest for the next intake contact Lorraine Morley. Registrations for wave 2 close 28 August 2017.