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In the age of longevity, make way for silver startuppers

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In the age of longevity, make way for silver startuppers

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From permanent employee to successful startupper. The professional history of Massimo Luise, a 51-year-old from Ferrara who is an expert in archiving systems, is marked by a before and an after. The watershed of his life change is enclosed in a gap of just twenty millimetres. It is a fireproof protection cushion that Luise invented herself, patenting it. That hi-tech idea now extends to every corner of the world. From the 13 kilometers of the Central State Archives in the Eur area of ​​Rome to the 12 meters deep Rami Barrack library center in Istanbul, which contains up to two million books.

And then there are the university archives of Turin, Milan, Bologna and Ferrara. Luise is at the helm of Makros, committed to building archiving systems to protect them from fire, water and deterioration: this is how she protects parchments, ancient books, documents, works of art. The team prevents the presence of fungi, mites and bacteria with AI algorithms and latest generation sensors.

Towards mature entrepreneurial figures

From Ferrara to Vicenza. Susanna Martucci is a first generation entrepreneur, winner of the GammaDonna award. Born in Verona in 1958, she invented a job from scratch: she recovers waste from industrial and artisanal production to redesign new artefacts and make them commonly used design objects. More than twenty-year-old internet geeks. The real economy of start-ups or innovative SMEs has recently been veering towards the involvement of mature entrepreneurial and managerial figures, beyond the youth rhetoric of the first narrative of innovation. It’s never too late to become a startupper, you might say. This is what TechCrunch recently wrote, defining the phenomenon of silver startuppers in a category called agetech. These are realities led by silver-haired innovators. Thus innovation embraces more mature age groups than in the past, equally distributed between women and men and geographically located even in non-metropolitan contexts.

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Palmarini: «This is how you give meaning to your life in society»

Today the average age of startuppers is repositioning itself. Fifty, sixty and seventy year olds who, as a plan B of their professional (and personal) career, decide to invent something from scratch. It is the reflection of greater economic availability, but there is also something else at stake. «Life is wide and long and there is time to be what we wanted and maybe we didn’t even know we wanted. On the other hand, we are experiencing a transition from a society of old age to a society of longevity of which we are simultaneously witnesses and protagonists. More than the simple availability of time and money, I believe it is the awareness of one’s role in this new life expectancy trajectory that opens up unexplored and unexpected scenarios. Today we know very well that we need to feel useful, active, part of the context. Giving meaning to our lives, having a role and meaning in society, being an integrated part of it. A factor so important and recognized that assessments of the meaningfulness of life have been adopted as one of the key parameters by the public health observatories of the British National Health System. We are always looking for that something that will never die, regardless of our body”, says Nicola Palmarini, director of the English government’s National Innovation Center for Aging and one of the leading experts in generation analysis, author of the book “Immortals” for Egea.

A 70% success rate

A phenomenon that also encompasses public relations work: the story of Anna Possi, 99 years old, known as the oldest barmaid in Italy, made the news. Since 1958 she has spent every day behind the counter of her bar in Nebbiuno, less than two thousand souls in the province of Novara. Among the more than 1.5 million entrepreneurs in the world, those over 50 are more likely to succeed than their younger counterparts. Today, one in three businesses in the United States is started by someone 50 or older. But there’s more. If only 28% of start-ups created by young people last more than three years, for those started by over 60s the success rate is 70 percent. This is what the report “The Longevity Economy” produced by AARP and Oxford Economics puts in black and white. «Being able to work physically and psychologically means first of all recognizing one’s contribution to the society of which one is a part, being able to produce income, not burdening pensions and therefore the young by having to finance the older ones. It also means having spending capacity, allowing the economy to remain in an active cycle”, specifies Palmarini, who envisages a future even more determined by the silver generation.

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