Impact Hub in partnership with AXA and Swiss Re Foundation launch the Impact Hub Fellowship for Longer Lives.

We launched the London stream of the  Impact  Hub  Fellowship  for  Longer  Lives in January 2014. We had a great number of submissions from entrepreneurs  looking at  addressing  the challenges  of  the increase  in  human  life  expectancy, falling birth rates and an ageing workforce.

The focus of the new Fellowship programme was to create innovative solutions to the challenges and opportunities presented by an ageing society. Semi-finalists were then invited to the next phase to pitch their ideas to win over £30,000 of start-up support on Thursday 3rd April 2014.  

Created in 2013 by AXA, Swiss Re Foundation and Impact Hub, The Impact Hub Fellowship for Longer Lives is part of an international programme to be implemented in Oaxaca, Milan, Madrid and London. 

The Impact Hub Fellowship UK Programme nominated  up to  three  initiatives  and  awarded the finalist with  a  twelve month fellowship,  gaining  access  to  seed funding, focused  skill  development,  valuable  networks  and  a  stimulating  workspace  at  Impact  Hub King’s Cross.

The programme

The  number  and  proportion  of  elderly  people  has   been growing  faster  than  ever  in  most  developed  and  developing  countries.  This  gives  rise  to  very  significant  economic, social  and  educational  challenges,  but also to many opportunities.

Through  the  Fellowship, Impact  Hub  with AXA and Swiss  Re  Foundation  were seeking innovative  initiatives  that  provide  sustainable  solutions  towards  meeting  the  challenges  and  opportunities  posed  by  the UK’s ageing society.

The  Fellowship  for Longer Lives invited  ambitious, purpose-driven  entrepreneurs  hoping  to  revolutionise  the  status   quo and  who find  that  collaboration  is  the  most  powerful  tool  to  generate  positive  impact.

Awards  were made to initiatives that offer scalable  solutions  in  the form  of  products  or  services  that  enable  changes  in  practice  or  behaviour  in  one  or  several  of  the  following   aspects:

• Organisation  of  family  life

• Education  system

• Corporate  economic  life

• Public  services

The award offered

– Financial support of £22,000 (a 12 month living stipend of £1000 per month, plus one-time seed-funding of £10,000)

– 1 year Impact Hub Unlimited Membership: full time access to the creative space at Impact Hub King’s Cross (value £5,616)

– Networking support from Impact Hub King’s Cross, AXA and Swiss Re Foundation: access to investors, partners, supporters, peer-entrepreneurs, media, and many more…

– 1 year start-up support including a dedicated coach, education, expert support, exposure and access to talent (value approx. £3,000)

The finalists

The Impact Hub Fellowship for Longer Lives has passed through its initial phase here in London.  Seven finalists spent the day pitching to a jam packed specialist jury panel made up; of Ilona Haslewood from Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Yves Masson from AXA Direct and Partnerships, Alison Mclean from Swiss Re Foundation, Peter Tyson from Impact Hub King’s Cross, Dermot Egan from Tilt, Valerie Stevens from Help Age International and David Metz from UCL.

A big congratulations to Silversharers, Speakset and See What I Mean for making it through.

While all the semi-finalists shone, these three were chosen to be supported over a 3 month period, through a monthly stipend, business support, full time membership at Impact Hub King’s Cross and access to network from all three partners running the programme.



Connecting senior explorers 

Silversharers’ mission is to connect, mobilize, empower and enrich senior citizens, by creating a community platform for mutually rewarding “home-stay” visits and vacations, with the potential to enhance the quality of life for many of our seniors.

Team members:
Peter Mangan


Reducing isolation for older people

SpeakSet is a product that converts an older person’s TV into an easy to use video calling device. It makes video calling accessible by using a clear interface and being controlled by a really simple remote control. SpeakSet solves the problem of isolation in old age.

Team members:

Ewan Marshall, Adi Kasliwell and Matt Simmons

Twitter: @speaksetUK

See what I mean

Journey anywhere not just in to the past

The See What I Mean (SWiM) App is a new and innovative solution to communication and engagement problems for people living with dementia. Losing the ability to communicate is one of the most frustrating and difficult problems for people with dementia, their families and carers. Communication is challenging because words can become hard to understand whereas images often retain their meaning.  

Team members:

Ilyanna Kerr and Peter Rogers

Twitter: @seewhatimean_

The winners: Speakset

An innovative new service to help older people video call doctors, family and friends won the Impact Hub Longer Lives challenge.

The Speakset founders developed their service because they saw personally what a huge problem isolation was for their older relations. Determined to understand the scale of the challenge on older peoples lives they immersed themselves interviewing hundreds of people.

“We went out to understand older people’s lives, problems and aspirations and this allowed us to build a product that they want to use and love to use. We use these same techniques to iterate the product for everyone involved.” – Ewan Marshall, Speakset


SpeakSet is now being used in care homes and private homes all over the country, connecting older people to their healthcare services as well as their wider support network. Older people often have difficulty easily accessing healthcare and SpeakSet want to make it as simple talk to your doctor as it is to turn on your TV.


“I live alone, I’m severely disabled, I don’t have any family after my wife passed away, and it can get very lonely…Speakset has improved my quality of life because I spent a lot of time stuck on my own without anyone to see or speak to. I would like to see more people using it.” – John Maynard, Speakset User

To learn more about Speakset, go to 

Creating impact by supporting businesses for good

We offer a variety of programmes at a local, national and international level. These programmes are aimed at people who want to start or scale up.