Meeting the semi-finalists: Fellowship for Longer Lives
7 April 2014 - David Metz

I spent a very interesting day last week as a member of the jury that heard pitches for the Impact Hub Fellowship for Longer Lives, sponsored by AXA and Swiss Re. The seven bids were remarkably diverse and of a high standard. Our task was to select three to receive three months’ support, following which one would be chosen for a further nine months of incubation.

The three finalists were very different in their intentions: the familiar television made into a means for two-way video communication to support older people in their own homes with health advice and family care; an app for an iPad to display images triggered by a spoken word, as an aid for those caring for dementia patients; and a version of Airbnb for elders. But all three proposals demonstrated real engagement with the needs of their target client group.

There was only a single older social entrepreneur amongst the finalists. He showed a realistic appreciation of the challenges involved in establishing a sustainable social enterprise. Naturally, the younger entrepreneurs were undaunted, believing that any obstacle could be overcome. I was left with the thought that to address the issues arising from longer lives, trans-generational partnerships might be a good approach.

David Metz

University College London