A more active role in the economy and society for over-50s in Hungary and Slovakia

Implemented in the Central and West Transdanubia regions of Hungary and the Slovak regions of Bratislava and West Slovakia, the Silver Economy project developed tools to support healthy and active ageing, to boost employment and cut poverty among the over 50s. A key event was the Silver Economy exhibition and fair held at Fort Monostor in Komárom, Hungary, in April 2018. Attended by some 4 000 visitors and 130 exhibitors, it was aimed at raising awareness of how older people can stimulate the economy by creating demand for new goods and services.

Additional tools

Silver Economy exhibition and fair at Fort Monostor, Komárom, Hungary ©Rába-Duna-Vág European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation, 2018 Silver Economy exhibition and fair at Fort Monostor, Komárom, Hungary ©Rába-Duna-Vág European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation, 2018

" “It was great to see all products and services for this age group gathered in one place and to have all producers available for discussions. Seniors are often disregarded, even within families, and this project provided an opportunity for them to be heard and listened to.” "

Peter Bányai, Kisalföldi Vállalkozásfejlesztési Alapítvány – Kisalföld Business Development Foundation

The project organised educational activities for more than 250 over-50s on smart device use; e-administration for tax, business and consumer purposes; and job seeking, including CV and interview preparation. English, Hungarian and Slovak language courses of between 32 and 128 hours were held.

Workshops, conferences and best practice exchanges took place on ageing and employment; ageing and innovation, which covered new technologies and independent living; ageing and business competitiveness; and products and services related to healthy ageing.

Meetings with public officials in six Hungarian counties and Slovak regions involved discussion of ageing strategies and the broader concept of the silver economy: goods and services that tap into older people’s purchasing potential and meet their needs.

An increasingly important group

Given the increase in size of the over-50 demographic in recent years, it has become important to view ageing as an opportunity, rather than a problem. Older people need help to enable them to remain in work longer and the market needs to adapt to their needs. Silver Economy’s events aimed to dispel the negative image of the ageing process by stressing the important roles senior citizens can play as consumers, employers or employees.

The project identified companies and organisations in the Hungarian-Slovak border region of relevance to the target group and created a network of these bodies. A catalogue of network members’ goods and services was published on the project website and in print, and marketing tools were set up.

Products and services on show

Exhibitors at the Silver Economy exhibition and fair offered products and services for the over-50s, and many of them belonged to that age group themselves. They included representatives of businesses active in such areas as tourism, spas, alternative medicine, medical supplies, beauty, yoga, consumer goods, household appliances, electric cars, bicycles, financial consultancy and insurance.

Visitors could try organic products, massages and therapeutic treatments, talk to exhibitors, or seek advice from employment agencies. Presentations were held throughout the event, while introductions were provided for companies catering to the over-50s.

Silver Economy strengthened cross-border cooperation between residents, public and private sector bodies, industrial and commercial firms, chambers of commerce, trade associations and organisations representing older people, and fostered interest in cross-border activities. This should help popularise products and services for senior citizens and support economic growth in various sectors.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Silver economy” is EUR 334 236, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 284 101 through the cooperation programme “Interreg V-A - Slovakia-Hungary”. The investment falls under the priority “Enhancing cross-border cooperation of public authorities and people living in the border area”.