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‘Olderpreneurs’ compete at EIT Health Startup Plus final

19th December 2019

Start-up Plus programme holds its first final

A solution that uses a home’s electricity meter to monitor seniors was the winner when Start-up Plus, a free learning programme to help people over 50 start their own company, held its final pitch contest in The Netherlands.

The participants gave pitches to a professional jury, who rewarded the most promising start-up with €10 000 for the further development of their own company. The prize money was made available by Aegon.

Of the more than forty start-ups presented, six went through to the so-called Dragon’s Den. Among the finalists Han van Doorn, Klaartje Gisolf, Ilse Puls, Saskia Danen, Robert Jan Everts and Inge Letschert and Diek van Laarhoven. The second prize was won by Inge Letschert and Diek van Laarhoven with their informal care platform. In the end, both the public and the jury chose the 82-year-old Han van Doorn with his idea, the “Are You Okay Today” app. This app learns the behaviour of the older person through a wire attached to the electricity meter and, in the case of abnormal electricity usage, first signals the user self and after no response the caregiver. This gives both the user and the caregiver a certain peace of mind.

Han speaks from his own experience: “My son wants to keep an eye on his old father. But I don’t want an alarm button around my neck or cameras and sensors in my house.” Han developed the app together with his son, already tested it in practice and made contacts with a health insurance company and energy company. The jury therefore views the start-up as very promising and sees a lot of potential for Han’s app.

About EIT Health Startup Plus

Also known as Silver Starter, The EIT Health Start-up Plus programme supports senior citizens in creating start-ups that are geared to healthy living and active ageing. More and more seniors who are considering a second career wish to create start-ups, an activity shown to be beneficial for wellbeing and health – and yet most start-up courses are tailored to young entrepreneurs. More than fifty participants have completed this eight-week digital learning programme. During this process they worked towards independent entrepreneurship with the help of a personal coach. It has become clear that it is not only the youth who have the future. Project leader Dr. Jolanda Lindenberg: “People over fifty are buzzing with ideas and with their experience, expertise and network they have a greater chance of success.”

Watch a Late night show interview with Han van Doorn and Jolanda Lindenberg (in Dutch)

 

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