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IDB and IDB Lab Launch Challenge on Silver Economy in Latin America and the Caribbean

The challenge aims to turn aging into an engine of social inclusion and economic recovery.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) with its innovation laboratory, IDB Lab, has opened the Silver Economy Innovation for Inclusion Challenge, to find and support innovative solutions that facilitate the growing population of seniors to become an engine of social inclusion and economic recovery in the Latin American and the Caribbean region. Proposals must have a focus on the poor and vulnerable aging population and be implemented in one or more of the borrowing member countries of the IDB.

Today, Latin America and the Caribbean is the fastest aging region in the world. The vulnerability to which those over 60 have been exposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has only underscored the challenge of responding to the growing demand for pension benefits, health services, and dependent services.

However, the great challenges that an aging population brings, also comes with opportunities for economic development with a generation of new enterprises and the creation of more and better jobs for the entire population, including opportunities for seniors.

The Silver Economy also has important implications for gender equity, given that women live longer and bar most of the burden of the unpaid domestic labor associated with caring for dependent seniors.

“Latin America and the Caribbean has to be prepared with innovative solutions so that both governments and the private sector can meet the needs of older adults while promoting economic recovery and delivering inclusive social services,” explained Marcelo Cabrol, Manager of IDB’s Social Sector.

The Silver Economy Innovation for Inclusion Challenge, calls for the participation of business models with innovative solutions ready to be implemented in the areas of health services and long-term care, financial services and products, employment and training, and housing and transportation (mobility), as well as those that support the promotion and development of technology-based ventures that generate solutions for any sector related to the Silver Economy. Potential participants include, among others, emerging companies, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), foundations, non-profit organizations, corporations, universities, think-tanks, public innovation agencies, accelerators, and other actors of the entrepreneurial ecosystem that come from any of the 48 member countries of the IDB Group.

“Today there are more than 80 million people over 60 years of age in the region and in 30 years it is expected that there will be almost 200 million. This is the time to prepare for this rapid demographic change. Focusing on this new reality will be one of the most strategic issues for the IDB Group in the coming years,” says Irene Arias, CEO of IDB Lab. “This Silver Economy challenge will allow us to identify innovative solutions for vulnerable elderly populations by inviting different actors, whether startups, civil society, or public agencies, to think and act on this challenge and opportunity,” she added.

The challenge establishes two categories of participation, depending on where the legal registration of the participating applicant is located, which will allow applicants to obtain financial support or an honorable mention and the possibility to be included in the network of global innovators of IDB Lab to develop opportunities for knowledge exchange and disseminating their innovative solutions. Initiatives selected for financial support will be eligible for contingent recovery loans and/or financing, both reimbursable, or non-reimbursable grants for amounts ranging from US $300,000 to US $2 million, depending on the type of financial instrument.

Proposals may be submitted from June 16 to July 31, 2021 and the announcement of the selected applicants will take place in October. More information can be accessed on the challenge and guidelines page. The email has been established to answer questions from interested parties.

About IDB

The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.

About IDB Lab

IDB Lab is the innovation laboratory of the IDB Group, the leading source of development finance and know-how for improving lives in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The purpose of IDB Lab is to drive innovation for inclusion in the region, by mobilizing financing, knowledge, and connections to test early-stage solutions with the potential to transform the lives of vulnerable populations affected by economic, social, and/or environmental factors. Since 1993, IDB Lab has approved more than US$ 2 billion in projects deployed across 26 LAC countries.


Manzano Guillen, Maria De Gador

Manzano Guillen, Maria De Gador

Borges De Padua Goulart Janaina

Borges De Padua Goulart Janaina
External Contacts

Andrea Ortega

Andrea Ortega
Additional Contacts


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