IDB Launches Challenge On Silver Economy In Latin America And The Caribbean

(CMC) — The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has launched an initiative aimed at finding and supporting innovative solutions that facilitate the growing population of seniors to become an engine of social inclusion and economic recovery in the Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) region.

The IDB said the “Challenge on Silver Economy in Latin America and the Caribbean” aims to turn aging into an engine of social inclusion and economic recovery and that it is working with its innovation laboratory, IDB Lab, on the project.

The Washington-based financial institution said that proposals must have a focus on the poor and vulnerable aging population and be implemented in one or more of the borrowing member countries of the IDB.

It said, currently, Latin America and the Caribbean is the fastest aging region in the world. The vulnerability to which those over 60 have been exposed as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has only underscored the challenge of responding to the growing demand for pension benefits, health services, and dependent services, the IDB added.

However, the IDB noted that the great challenges that an aging population brings, also comes with opportunities for economic development with a generation of new enterprises and the creation of more and better jobs for the entire population, including opportunities for seniors.

The Silver Economy also has important implications for gender equity, given that women live longer and bar most of the burden of the unpaid domestic labour associated with caring for dependent seniors.

“Latin America and the Caribbean has to be prepared with innovative solutions so that both governments and the private sector can meet the needs of older adults while promoting economic recovery and delivering inclusive social services,” said Marcelo Cabrol, Manager of IDB’s Social Sector.

The Silver Economy Innovation for Inclusion Challenge, calls for the participation of business models with innovative solutions ready to be implemented in the areas of health services and long-term care, financial services and products, employment and training, and housing and transportation (mobility).

It is also intended to support the promotion and development of technology-based ventures that generate solutions for any sector related to the Silver Economy.

Potential participants include, among others, emerging companies, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), foundations, non-profit organizations, corporations, universities, think-tanks, public innovation agencies, accelerators, and other actors of the entrepreneurial ecosystem that come from any of the 48 member countries of the IDB Group.

“Today there are more than 80 million people over 60 years of age in the region and in 30 years it is expected that there will be almost 200 million. This is the time to prepare for this rapid demographic change. Focusing on this new reality will be one of the most strategic issues for the IDB Group in the coming years,” says Irene Arias, the chief executive officer of IDB Lab.

“This Silver Economy challenge will allow us to identify innovative solutions for vulnerable elderly populations by inviting different actors, whether startups, civil society, or public agencies, to think and act on this challenge and opportunity,” she added.

The IDB said that the challenge establishes two categories of participation, depending on where the legal registration of the participating applicant is located, which will allow applicants to obtain financial support or an honourable mention and the possibility to be included in the network of global innovators of IDB Lab to develop opportunities for knowledge exchange and disseminating their innovative solutions.

Initiatives selected for financial support will be eligible for contingent recovery loans and/or financing, both reimbursable and non-reimbursable grants for amounts ranging from US$300,000 to US$2 million, depending on the type of financial instrument.

Proposals may be submitted until July 31 and the IDB said the announcement of the selected applicants will take place in October.