SILVER SMEs aims at developing regional policies that take advantage of the Silver Economy to boost SMEs and entrepreneurship spirit in our rural and mountainous regions. After 3 years of analysis of our regional contexts, strengths and weaknesses, observation on the ground, and inter-regional exchanges of solutions that support rural older adults and promote the development of SMEs from the Silver Economy, SILVER SMEs is now taking action!
Our partners developed and implement Action Plans to support the Silver Economy in their regions. Today we meet with Nils Ake Norman, Project Manager at region Dalarna (Sweden), to understand how the measures from Dalarna’s Action Plan can bring change in the region.
What are the main actions carried out through your Action Plan?
Thanks to our SILVER SMEs Action Plan, region Dalarna will:
- Develop “Smarter Homes” as a Test and Demonstration Arena for companies that develop products aimed for older people over the age of 65 who want to ensure a safe and independent home, as well as their families and employees in health care and the home-help services. Smarter Homes was identified as a best practice within SILVER SMEs, and it will be further supported (you can find more on Smarter Homes in this 2 minutes video).
- Contribute to the development of Dalarna University and the academic environment around Dalarna University's research profiles in the field of Health and Welfare, especially the research centre for the elderly and aging (ReCALL), as it creates an environment in which networks and contacts are built, which are of great importance for testing the digital welfare technology of the future.
- Collaborate with municipalities, stakeholders, small and medium-sized companies to make region Dalarna's new regional development strategy (2021-2027) known, transparent and that the strategy also includes the elderly population in the region.
What do you expect to achieve for SMEs from the Silver Economy and older adults in rural areas?
Through the implementation of the Action Plan, we expect to support the development of new innovative products and services on the market. Hence, it will support SMEs from the Silver Economy and help increase the awareness and demand for their goods and services, for example through the Assistive Aid Centre.
By increasing the awareness on smart devices among older adults, their families or even caregivers, we also expect to improve their quality of life and to help them living safely and independently in their home.
How will these actions be technically executed?
Smarter Homes as a Test and Demonstration arena will be run by Dalarna Science Park from January 2022. The project aims to, through a feasibility study, investigate the possibilities of developing a Smarter Home in a longer project as a test bed for companies that develop Silver Economy products.
Dalarna Science Park is carrying out a feasibility study to better design the support that can be given to SMEs to test prototypes and develop ready-to-market products. For instance, they are now thinking about the number of companies that can be selected in each call to exhibit their products in the show flat. The reflection is fed by the interesting examples we explored in France thanks to SILVER SMEs, like the Silver Surfer calls.
Moreover, in the long-term, we are thinking about organising further exchanges between Smarter Homes, in Dalarna, and the Homilys Adapted Residence, in Hauts-de-France, another good practice showcased by SILVER SMEs. This exchange could create export opportunities both for SMEs located in Dalarna and Hauts-de-France, and act as a growth accelerator for them. The study is also looking at the potential actors that can be involved, including on financing.
What are the key findings of your regional SWOT and how will the planned actions address them?
The key messages from our SWOT analysis were a clear change in the demographic structure of region Dalarna, with lower birth rates, an increase of life expectancy and a reversed population pyramid. We also observed there were incentives to live in rural areas and to encourage older adults living longer in their homes, while at the same time there was a lack of adapted goods and services for them to do so independently.
We expect that our actions will contribute to increasing the knowledge on the needs of our growing older population and that it will help educating on the importance to develop specific services for the elderly through businesses focused on the Silver Economy.
Discover in detail the measures implemented by region Dalarna to boost SMEs of the Silver Economy in its Action Plan!