SILVER SMEs aims at developing regional policies that take advantage of the Silver Economy to boost SMEs in our rural and mountainous regions. After 4 years of inter-regional exchanges of solutions that promote the development of SMEs from the Silver Economy, SILVER SMEs now takes action!

Our partners implement Action Plans to support the Silver Economy in their regions and address the specific challenges of their territory. Today we meet with Beatriz García Val, Institutional Cooperation Officer at SODEBUR, the Society for the development of the province of Burgos in Spain. She tells us about the actions developed thanks to SILVER SMEs and points out how the Province of Burgos’ Action Plan will make a difference.

What are the main actions planed through your Action Plan?

Our Action Plan at the Province of Burgos focuses on two main actions:

  • Identifying entrepreneurship opportunities in order to establish new companies in the Silver Economy sector in rural areas.
  • Launching a call for funding to support companies and entrepreneurs in rural areas working in the Silver Economy sector.

How will these actions be technically implemented in the territory?

The Province of Burgos’ SILVER SMEs Action Plan is thought to be implemented between mid-2021 and mid-2023. Our first action, aiming at identifying the business opportunities in the rural Silver Economy, was already mainly implemented during 2021. Regarding our second action, the call for funding, it will be developed throughout 2022.

We, the Society for the development of the province of Burgos (SODEBUR), partner of SILVER SMEs, will be in charge of implementing and monitoring these actions. They will both be developed with own funds, with a maximum total budget amounting 200.000 € for 2021 and 2022.

How will you Action Plan address the specific challenges experienced in the Province of Burgos in terms of demography and entrepreneurship?

At the beginning of SILVER SMEs, we conducted a SWOT analysis in the Province. Two main issues were identified as challenging for our territory: the depopulation of rural areas and the reversing population pyramid, meaning the ageing of our population.

At the same time, during the first years of the project, when looking at what other territories were doing, we noticed that the Province of Burgos needed to take more advantage of the great potential of the Silver Economy sector as a mean of promoting the creation of new companies in rural areas.

Thus, these elements were the main starting points to draft the actions which were finally included in our Action Plan. From the one hand, it aims at taking more advantage of the opportunities offered by the Silver Economy to support our ageing population and from the other hand, it is also a tool to maintain population in our territory by creating new jobs and generating economic growth.

How should these actions benefit SMEs from the Silver Economy and older adults living in your rural areas?

Both actions are thought to directly benefit not only already established SMEs operating in the Province but also potential entrepreneurs with the intention to create a new business. The first action focuses on the detection of business opportunities in the Silver Economy sector but being complemented within an integral methodology of support for potential rural entrepreneurs even if they do not have specific ideas to work with. The second action is a financial instrument to provide extra funds to those companies or entrepreneurs developing goods and services in the Silver Economy sector. Therefore, our Action Plan will benefit SMEs by showing them ideas or concepts to develop in our rural areas and by providing them with the funding to develop these ideas or concepts.

Older adults are the main population segment living in our rural areas. Being aware of this, we intend through our Action Plan to turn this demographic change into an opportunity for job creation. Overall, it should contribute to improve their quality of life, also through the intention to offering them the possibility to live in their municipality and own home for as long as they wish.

How has interregional cooperation helped you to build your Action Plan?

Knowledge exchange with other European regions has been essential to draft our Action Plan. Thus, we were particularly inspired by the good practice from the Social Entrepreneurship Programme of the Aragón Region in Spain, being a programme that integrated the Silver Economy sector into its social entrepreneurship development activities. Through this programme, a number of social entrepreneurs interested in developing goods and services for the Silver Economy sector are provided with training and mentoring each year. We have therefore tried to replicate this good practice in our region with a similar targeted initiative, but also providing funds and a repository of dedicated business plans.

Discover more details on the measures in the Province of Burgos’ Action Plan!