The EIIL was recently invited to take part in an EC project event ‘Seniors as Mentors and Seniors as Entrepreneurs’ (under the EC-COSME programme). At workshops in London in July, and in Barcelona in September, the EIIL joined the International Longevity Centre (UK), Barcelona Activa (part of Barcelona City Council supporting policies to develop employment, entrepreneurship and business), the Confederation of European Senior Expert Services and some 30 or so selected organisations from all over Europe. The purpose of the events was to hear best practice and to share expertise to support policymakers in an area where the EIIL has plenty of experience.
At the London ‘Seniors as Mentors’ workshop in July, EIIL Exec. Director Steve Price shared the EIIL’s masterclass methodology, and how it is used on its core workshop programme, and on the Ent-Ex programme, where it helps 18 – 30 year olds to learn from the experience of successful senior entrepreneurs. ’It was great for our experience to have been recognised’ said Steve, ‘so I was really pleased to then provide one of the formal expert contributions to the follow-up Barcelona workshop’.
The workshop, organised by Development Solutions, was ambitious in its scope with so many stakeholder and senior entrepreneurs’ interests represented, but the EIIL’s experience with both inter-generational learning, and with entrepreneurs of all ages proved beneficial. ‘Identifying the various types of senior entrepreneurs, understanding their needs and what they can offer in terms of services and economic growth for the community, should help policy makers (such as the European Commission) offer adapted public policy instruments’ said EIIL Partnership Manager Lara Egli.
‘Our Ent-Ex programme has shown that there are many young people who really need the mentoring help which experienced seniors can provide’ said Steve Price, ‘and as retirement age increases, more and more seniors are seeking a second, or third career as an independent, or entrepreneur. It would be good to think that policy instruments might emerge which could help us to continue to make use of their valuable experience’