Published on August 3, 2016 um 12:33
Explain your idea in details:
Our main objective is to contribute towards an inclusive society. We aim to better include elderly both socially and economically. This is achieved directly, by giving some elderly people an opportunity to meet younger generations and earn additional income, as well as indirectly by creating appreciation for the skills many elderly possess. As we build a reputation and positive public image, we hope to become an advocate for the elderly and coordinate additional services. Specifically, we will arrange cooking sessions, where different groups learn to cook traditional specialties from an older person (like cooking at grandmas). We thus turn a widely acknowledged skill into a marketable tool for elderly self-empowerment. The goal is an enjoyable and cohesive group experience more than new cooking skills. In essence, we put family traditions into a new context, applying a practice that brings families together to other groups. At the same time, the elderly get to experience social bonding and connection more frequently than they would normally have the chance to do. We will work to identify elderly in need but with skills and train them to work with groups. To make sure our employees are taken care of beyond finances, we will provide them with information and access to other opportunities and resources for elderly. By maintaining relationships with local agencies and centers for the elderly, we hope both to find new elderly participants and to arrange services for our employees. Furthermore, we will reach out to tourist agencies and hostels, companies and workshop providers, and youth organizations, who could be interested in our sessions as cultural experiences, corporate activities, or teambuilding experiences. In the future, our sessions could be developed to focus on different aspects, such as the culture behind the food, other crafts and skills, storytelling, and more.
Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development
Cohesion Cookings principle impact is the better inclusion of elderly people in society. The older generation in society is often socially isolated and dependent on state pension systems with little opportunity to improve their situation. By employing elderly people to work with tourists, youth, corporate employees, and others, we give them the opportunity to interact with people from other generations in an empowered setting, gaining appreciation for their skills while earning additional income. Furthermore, the cooking sessions will create awareness among the participants that elderly people in general have valuable skills and knowledge to share. This in turn will contribute to a wider appreciation of our oldest citizens and help bridge the social gap between generations. While much of our impact is quite intangible, there are ways to measure, or at least estimate, some aspects. At the most basic level, we will keep track of the numbers of elderly engaged, sessions conducted, participants at these sessions, and the amount of income generated for the elderly. Furthermore, we will collect qualitative feedback from the elderly about their life and happiness before starting with us as compared with after beginning to work with us. Such feedback will be collected at regular intervals. We will also collect feedback from customers; first to ensure a quality service and project sustainability, but also to learn how their perceptions of the elderly have been affected by participating in one of our sessions. Similar research has been done, for example, by homeless tour companies to understand the impact on peoples perceptions from taking a city tour with a homeless person. In addition, the frequency of unsolicited requests for our service should be an indicator of both public interest and public awareness of our work, which is important in creating impact through awareness of the topic.
Plans for implementation and sustainability
First, we will have trial sessions with friends and colleagues, for example making Macedonian Ajvar with work colleagues and one of their grandmothers. This informal teambuilding activity will lead to valuable feedback. These sessions will be followed by sessions with external groups. We are well connected with international youth (ages 20-30) volunteers and start-ups and will arrange sessions for volunteers or start-up teams. This will be financed by minimal contributions from participants for food and a small thank you for the session leader (older person). Initial sessions will be run by friends grandparents or their interested friends. Over time, we will find new employees through word of mouth and contacts with local elderly organizations. Next, we will refine our processes and begin marketing. Our first target is tourism. Through contacts with local hostels, tour providers, and social media marketing experts, we will advertise our sessions as a cultural activity. Over time we will shift to start-ups and youth groups interested in teambuilding activities. With this experience, we will then approach larger companies, offering services for corporate retreats and teambuilding. Our diversified customer base will ensure economic sustainability and greater impact by bringing different groups into active contact with the elderly.
I was born on July 27, 1989, and just turned 27. After completing high school in the United States, I moved to Austria, where I studied economics and socio-economics and finished my Masters degree this year. During my studies, I became very active in the social entrepreneurship community and ran a program for student social entrepreneurs in Austria, conducting idea generation workshops across the country and evaluating applications to our annual award. I have furthermore delved into the topic of participatory organizational structures and have helped organize trainings in Art of Hosting. Over the last nine years, I have lived primarily in Austria, but also spent time living in France, Peru, and currently Macedonia. At the moment I am working with a youth NGO to develop and facilitate social entrepreneurship workshops for young people in Macedonia. I have experience working with people from a variety of cultures, coaching others to develop their ideas, and managing volunteers and program logistics. I have also partnered with friends and classmates to attempt different types of projects. After a failed project in youth participation, I was successful with a new team in conducting a journalism workshop series for young refugees in Austria. I have worked with many social businesses and have experience implementing my own projects. I am now excited to start my first social business with a great partner and colleague.
Stage of Idea
conceptual stage, planning stage