The mission that unites all entrepreneurs is turning an idea into profit. Crucial to achieving that mission is the commerciality of the original idea.
Commerciality is an important criteria which the selection panel of the Entrepreneurs for Resilience Award needed to assess to select the most worthy candidates to proceed to the final stages of the initiative being run by the Swiss Re Foundation. The initiative is searching for innovative solutions that can help the elderly be more resilient to the impact of ageing; or put more specifically, that can help them live independently in their own homes for longer.
The theme of sustainability features strongly here. The demographic trend of ageing is a major challenge facing society now and in coming decades. Solutions which help us to manage our longer lifetimes can make our quality of life more sustainable too. On more of a micro scale, the entrepreneur who boldly explores a new solution for elderly independent living needs to work towards developing it to a point where it can be sustainable commercially.
Even though the Resilience Award is a social grant, we are looking for ventures that, in the longer term, had a high potential to generate attractive returns for impact investors. Here are some of the differentiating factors:
- The alignment of the solution with opportunities to build a commercial proposition that includes insurance or an alternative risk transfer mechanism.
- The quantity and quality of any pilots or research done to prove that the solution works.
- The effort of the entrepreneur to develop a pipeline of potential customers, that is wide and deep.
- The extent to which the innovation has relevance and replicability internationally.
- The attitude of the entrepreneur: his/her determination to turn the idea into a viable business.
- The entrepreneur's openness to learning and taking guidance from experienced business professionals and mentors.
Before 2020, for the first time in human history, the number of people over the age of 65 will exceed children under the age of 5 (read this report from the US Census Bureau). It is inspiring to see big business uniting with agile and innovative small business entrepreneurs in the effort to find commercially sustainable solutions to turn this demographic tipping point from a daunting societal challenge into a wonderful celebration of human longevity.
"When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favour." ~Elon Musk
Category: Funding longer lives