Why are all the incubators or accelerator programs aimed at millennials?

  • Orpa Haque

    Orpa Haque

    Assistant Programme Manager

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11 Feb 2020

We met with Arjan in’t Veld, a judge for the Smart Ageing Prize, to discuss his passion for supporting the Third Age

In just a couple of succinct lines, Arjan in’t Veld summarises the social challenge at the focus of the Smart Ageing Prize perfectly: “I read an article last week that says that the average age at which entrepreneurs are most successful is 45. Why then, are all the incubators or accelerator programs aimed at millennials?” This is exactly why this prize is focusing on senior enterprise. 

What makes Arjan a perfect judge?

Arjan’s knowledge, experience and expertise, which he has gained through over 10 years in the ageing space, makes him an asset to the judging panel. Arjan’s interest in ageing started while he was still a student. Back then, he sold devices for fall prevention to nursing homes, and also wrote his dissertation on older adults. He was committed to supporting a generation with whom students typically had very little contact. This was the kind of attitude which is needed more than ever by society. We live in a society in which people over 65 represent almost 20% of the total population of the EU which is why, according to Arjan, the fact that incubators or accelerator programs are aimed at millennials “is about to change”. 

Understanding the over fifty’s

Arjan has long been aware of the changes in society, specifically the rise of an ageing population, and he has not hesitated to take the trend seriously. Only three years after finishing his Marketing Master’s degree in the Netherlands, he co-founded Bureauvijftig, a company whose mission is to really understand and reach people over fifty. Arjan looks differently at older adults, considering this target group be colourful and diverse. He wants people to be able to reach, engage, serve and connect with the “older” generation. This is why Arjan is pleased to be able to share his knowledge and experience among others. The mature marketing expert knows that ageing is not just an issue in the Netherlands, but in many countries, therefore he is keen for his expertise to be passed on internationally. For this reason, he co-founded Bureau50 in Belgium in 2018. 

Helping the Third Age to thrive

Arjan in’t Veld is unstoppable with his enthusiasm to support older people and is constantly working with different organisations and companies to do just this. In 2012, he co-founded WeHelpen, a cooperative society which is inspiring a nationwide movement towards more informal care and personal involvement in the community. Following that, he was the director of LiveSafe for three years, which is a company that sells mobile personal alarms – the modern equivalent of a fixed personal alarm.  Now Arjan continues to hold on to his vision and strives to make the world a better place for older adults, and became a Member of the Supervisory Board of a Non-Profit-Organisation called Stichting Gouden Dagen in 2016. This organisation works for older adults in the Netherlands, with the aim of combating loneliness, increasing mobility and reducing the gap between young and old. In addition to all of this, Arjan is also a non-executive board member position at the Martini Hospital. 

Pooling the talents of senior society

In addition to his extensive experience, Arjan is an entrepreneur himself, which makes him perfectly qualified to serve as a judge for the Smart Ageing Prize. Two years ago, Arjan co-founded Grey Valley, to create a place for people who focus on products and services for older adults. It serves as a pool of knowledge, expertise and experience on the 50+ target group, to come up with new ideas and innovations.

Having a real passion and a unique approach to this specific target group, Arjan is “proud to be a judge for the Smart Ageing Prize”, stating that he cannot wait to see the kinds of companies and entrants will be a part of the prize.

Are you inspired by the engagement and enthusiasm that Arjan shows for older people? We certainly are! Find more about the Smart Ageing Prize or, if you have any questions, get in contact with our team.


If  you’re ready to submit your application, head straight to the Apply page. The deadline for entries is on the 26th of February at 17:00 CET.