U-Life has been awarded as Impact Hub Fellow at the Milan edition of Impact Hub Fellowship for Longer Lives in partnership with AXA and Swiss Re Foundation.
The team members, Anna Riva (Project Manager), Federico Magnone (IT Engeneer), Luigi Bandera (Sales Manager) and Gabriele Favagrossa (Accessibility Advisor), won with a business plan for the creation of a web and off-line platform capable of customizing holiday packages for elderly travelers and fragile target categories. The project name, U-Life, merges together the European approach for inclusive accessibility “Universal Design” with “Life” as expression of liberty and way of being.
Among all three finalists, U-Life was able to better respond with an innovative and concrete idea to one of the most important challenges of our time: better and longer lives for all through a new mind set of ideas and solutions capable of transforming social change into opportunities. Second after Germany, Italy has the highest rate of over 65 year olds in Europe and future trends tell us that numbers will keep on growing till 2050. Nowadays only a small percentage of them (11%) is a frequent traveler, especially due to health problems or specific needs that make it hard to organize and leave for a “normal vacation”. That’s why U-Life wants to contribute to the Italian touristic sector by expanding accessibility tools and services useful to serve the growing demand for new customized travelling experiences, evolving the old charitable and marginalizing approach.
With a grant of over 15.500 euros as seed money, the team will continue developing his idea during a 9 months incubation period with the support of Impact Hub and will receive technical support for financial access and training sessions, together with a personal coach.
U-Life has been awarded during a seminar organized by AXA-Bocconi on risk assessment, titled “Youth and entrepreneurship: taking risks to foster growth. What role for the financial system?” held at University of Bocconi in Milan. The seminar, this year at its second edition, focused on young generations and enterprise, not only a possibility, rather a key necessity for economic growth.
Young enterprises represent almost 20% of employment in the last ten years and contribute at almost half of all new occupation and jobs created (OECD 2013). In Italy as well, young entrepreneurship gives a relevant contribution to growth. In the last nine months, as outlined by Unioncamere, over 100thousand new enterprises are lead by under 35 (33,9%), with over 700 hundred new start-ups founded (1508 in Jan 2014, +78,5% in one year). If confronted with the youth unemployment rate at 41,6% (+4% from 2012), self-employment is a growing alternative for youngsters.
Given this context, the challenge becomes understanding how to help young generations to transform good ideas in excellent business projects, using new and innovative entrepreneurial approaches, with a collective support by public, private and third sector partnerships. Insurance system as well, in its attitude for risk assessment on the long run, must make a step forward, helping new generations to redefine a more confident definition of “risk”, taken as opportunity for development and wealth.
“Changing and making change happen is the real challenge of our time – declares Frédéric de Courtois, AXA chief executive in Italy – but no change can be seen without innovation and there is no innovation without youth and entrepreneurship. They have a key role for growth and competitiveness, being flexible, dynamic and open to diversity by definition. Young entrepreneurs can be the real leverage for growth, but they must be supported in having the opportunity to try and take the risk, considering the positive definition of risk”.
“We are really satisfied with the work the three start-ups selected in for final phase have carried out in the last months and are enthusiastic to have the chance tp support one of them further in the next nine months.” – said Marco Fabio Nannini, CEO and Business Director at Impact Hub Milan.
Impact Hub Fellowship for Longer Lives is an international startup support program, implemented in four different cities and countries, to enable entrepreneurs with innovative solutions, to address the challenges of the increase in human’s life expectancy and demographic ageing. It is a collaborative effort by AXA, Swiss Re Foundation and Impact Hub. Find out more here.