The innovative hub Simbioza BTC City Lab represents a new step toward intergenerational cooperation. Our society is facing a global aging trend on the one side and exponential technological growth on the other. Both deepen the generation gap and increase the possibility of being excluded by the society. To stimulate an inclusive information society, the social enterprise Simbioza Genesis and the BTC Company joined forces and designed an innovative hub Simbioza BTC City Lab, where people aged 50 or more can become more familiar with progressive and smart technologies, solutions, devices, and products used in their everyday life. The hub is intended for educational and socialising activities, as well as developing new (business) ideas.
Jože Mermal, President of the BTC Management Board, emphasised the Company’s fondness of breakthrough ideas: “The BTC Company with its partners under the wing of ABC Accelerator and ABC Hub already supports the development of innovative ideas of start-ups and ambitious individuals. I am certain intergenerational cooperation is beneficial for everyone. On the one hand, it is good for young people who blow fresh wind into business environment, on the other for older people who bring invaluable experiences. Therefore, I am pleased that the BTC Company together with Simbioza Genesis under the patronage of the new creative hub Simbioza BTC City Lab encourages entrepreneurial ideas, education, and the inclusion of elderly into an information society.”
Ana Pleško, Director of Social Enterprise Simbioza Genesis, emphasised that cooperation is the right way for encouraging an intergenerational symbiosis: “We are writing a new story, using the energy of the youth and the experiences of wisdom. With the innovation hub, we are addressing the challenges of a vivacious society – from employment opportunities for older people to the digital gap between generations. Given the current state of the employment market we are in need of necessary adjustments; therefore, Simbioza is rapidly developing new society solutions for a social reactivation of people over 50. We are well aware that older people are full of knowledge and experiences, which remain an unexploited potential and capital if they are not given the chance to share and develop it. Despite the fact that employers like to decline older employees, successful companies are the ones that know how to utilise knowledge, skills, and benefits of all generations.”
Besides the organisers from Simbioza Genesis and the BTC Company, the visitors of the event were also addressed by Robert Drobnič, Head of Sector for Regional Development at Ministry for Economic Development and Technology.
The introductory greetings were followed by interactive presentations of partners and first testings. Visitors took part in workshops on smart phone and Samsung tablet use, as well as cooking in a smart kitchen by Gorenje. They were presented with the use of an interactive floor by the Inovatio Company, dived into the virtual world with virtual-reality goggles Snaut, and tested the smart health application 24alife.
Three programmes for adopting e-skills, developing ideas, and mentoring
In the scope of Simbioza BTC City Lab, various free-of-charge programmes will be implemented. On 4 December 2017, the activities will begin in the scope of the first programme Third Career (“Tretja kariera“). By taking part in workshops, the participants will adopt e-skills and acquaint themselves with the use of modern technologies and products. In December, educational courses will take place in combination with different topics, such as computer technology, telephony, e-services and e-product, digital photography, audio-video technology, and smart household appliances. Besides these courses, the programme visitors will be able to take part in pre-retirement activities as an encouragement to all employees in planning a stress-free transition into retirement. Everyone will have the opportunity to hire a personal shopping assistant.
This will be followed by the programme Accelerator 55+, intended for people over 55, who want to enter the world of start-ups and develop their ideas, products, and projects. This programme is also suitable for older seekers of employment. In the scope of the programme, the participants will be included in solving current social challenges that deal with older people, and in the development of new or the improvement of existing services and products for older people.
Since older people’s experiences carry a great value, the third programme will be Senior Apprentice (“Senior pripravnik“). Within this programme, pensioners will be included in companies’ apprenticeship programmes in the position of experienced advisors.
More on the activities of the innovation hub Simbioza BTC City Lab and more information on the workshops are available at www.simbiozalab.com.
Maja Oven, Director of Market Communications and Public Relations Sector
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