Senior Enterprise: Launching the third Smart Ageing Prize

The AAL Programme and Nesta Challenges are pleased to announce the official launch of the third edition of the Smart Ageing Series on Senior Enterprise: A prize enabling all ages to thrive through enterprise.

There is a growing number of active older people seeking professional opportunities, combined with a rapidly developing environment for start-ups and entrepreneurship across Europe. This creates a great opportunity to harness the talents of this older generation within the sector.

Businesses of the future should harness the skills and assets of all generations to enable people to work together and thrive through enterprise. This 50,000 EUR challenge prize is seeking solutions that support, empower and inspire older adults to engage in entrepreneurship, for example through the creation of intergenerational teams and skills-sharing, or digital solutions to help bring to life the entrepreneurial ideas and energy of the 60+ age group.

The prize pot would be split into 3 awards: 35,000 EUR for first place, 10,000 EUR for the first runner up, and 5,000 EUR for the second runner up. It is important to recognise that involvement in enterprise is not limited to those who want to set up their own business. Other fruitful routes into the sector can include mentoring/coaching for younger entrepreneurs, or going into business with an intergenerational team.

What is the prize looking for?

This prize is open to individuals, groups and organisations located in the “EU 28” countries plus Canada, Taiwan and the countries Associated to Horizon 2020 (list available here).  Applicants must be aged 18 or over.

There are a few things you should bear in mind whilst preparing your application. We’re looking for solutions that are innovative. The prize is not looking to support a solution such as a website with no innovative digital component. The technology can be incrementally innovative, not necessarily disruptive, but it should be something that isn’t already available on the market.

The solution must be supported by a strong and viable business model. This means having thought carefully about your customer segment and designed the product in conjunction with end users, to ensure it meets their needs. We’ll also be asking at later stages of the prize how you intend to market your solution – products and services need to be desirable and attractive to the over-65 market.

Importantly, your solution should be capable of delivering a measurable improvement in the number of older adults participating in entrepreneurial ventures, and really championing the assets and skills of senior talent

How does the prize work?

After the deadline at 17:00 CET on February 26th 2020, the judging panel will select 15 semi-finalists to attend a mentoring academy in Brussels. Semi-finalists will be expected to bring a working demonstration to the event.

Each team will be matched with a specialist coach to guide them through improving the business proposition, testing with end users and evidencing the impact of the solution. Supported by their coach, each semi-finalist will submit a detailed business plan, outlining their proposed route to market within 12-18 months following the awarding of the prize and their plan to create a sustainable business model.

From the business plans, the judges will select five top finalists to attend an awards ceremony, to be held at the annual AAL Forum in September 2020. At the awards, a top prize of €35,000, a first runner up prize of €10,000 and a second runner up prize of €5,000 will be announced.

The Smart Ageing Series

This prize follows the success of the second Smart Ageing Prize, which ran in 2018, calling for products and services that used innovative digital technologies to support older people to participate fully in social life. KOMP was proclaimed the overall winner of the challenge, winning the top prize of €35,000, while PlaceCal came away with the second place’s prize of €10,000. Refresh by How Do I? came in 3rd place, winning €5,000. Read more about the previous editions here.

How do I apply?

You can submit an application online at

Further information about the Smart Ageing Prize, including Terms and Conditions, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and eligibility criteria is also available on the website.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 26th March 2020 at 17:00 Brussels time.

Good luck!

Click here to download the press release.

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