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 rapidly 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, including Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, 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.
Academy of Economics Schleswig-Holstein, DE (Lead Partner), County of Pinneberg (Germany) University of Rostock, Rostock Center for the Study of Demographic Change (Germany),Research Association Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Germany), The Paritätische Welfare Organisation in Schleswig-Holstein (Germany), Institute for European Initiatives (Poland),Gdansk University of Technology (Poland), Western Pomeranian Business School (Poland),Šiauliai Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts (Poalnd), Šiauliai Branch of the National Regional Development Agency (Poland),KTU Regional Science Park (Lithuania), CONNECT Latvia (Latvia), Stockholm School of Economics in Riga (Latvia), County Council of Norrbotten (Sweden),University of Gothenburg (Sweden),Green Network (Denmark), University College Lillebaelt (Denmark), Norwich Business School at the University of East Anglia (United Kingdom),Estonian Association of SMEs EVEA (Estonia).
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 webbased 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.
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
- committing their time and energy to voluntary work for the benefit of SME, young entrepreneurs, students and pupils or
- improving their skills and realising their own business ideas (WP 6)
On 13 December 2012, the closing event of the “Best Agers” project “Senior citizens in entrepreneurship and society” took place at SSE Riga.