SILVER SMEs held its online mid-term conference on "Challenges and solutions to cope with ageing in rural Europe: the role of the Silver Economy" on the 21st of April 2021. Co-organised by Euromontana and the Province of Teruel, the conference aimed at discussing how rural and mountainous areas can address the challenge of demographic change and ageing by supporting SMEs from the Silver Economy. The event gathered more than 100 participants and was the opportunity to present the main results of our project and to provide inspiration to other rural and mountainous territories facing ageing.

In doing so, the event gave the floor to European policymakers in order to better understand how EU policies and funds could better support ageing regions. Guest speaker at the event, the Vice-President of the European Commission, Ms Dubravka Šuica, recognised the vulnerability of rural and mountainous areas towards demographic change. In reference to the Silver Economy sector, Commissioner Šuica pointed out that “addressing ageing as both a challenge and an opportunity can harness the full potential of this key demographic trend, including when it comes to rural areas” which is precisely the essence of our SILVER SMEs project.

By 2070, 30% of Europe’s population will be aged 65 and over. Rural and mountainous areas are particularly affected by this demographic change and need to develop living environments that meet the needs of older people. SILVER SMEs’ conference therefore provided concrete examples of initiatives carried out across Europe to address this challenge: 8 best practices from our project illustrated how local and regional policies can improve senior housing, boost SME creation and increase older adults’ well-being.

Regional policymakers and stakeholders also presented how their regional Action Plans, developed within SILVER SMEs. In the next two years, these plans will support the development of new SMEs from the Silver Economy sector and increase the availability of adapted goods and services for rural older adults.

Read more on the event’s discussions in the conference report


More information

You can find more information about our conference by reading the event report, in which you can also access speakers’ presentations and best practices videos. The conference recording in English is also available, as well as the video speech of Vice-President Dubravka Šuica. Find more on the event webpage.

You can also discover at a glance the main outcomes of SILVER SMEs by checking out our results factsheet!