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2017 Smart Ageing Innovation Awards

By | Press Releases


(From left to right) Bobby Kerr, Entrepreneur, Denis Tierney,, Peter Mangan, The Freebird Club,  Frances Fitzgerald, Tanaiste & Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Brid Horan, Chair ISAX.

The Freebird Club wins first ever Smart Ageing Innovation Awards

The Freebird Club, a newly established company based on the principles of the new sharing economy, scooped the overall winner of the first Smart Ageing Innovation Awards last night. The Awards, ran by Ireland Smart Ageing Exchange (ISAX) and supported by Bank of Ireland celebrate the new world of Smart Ageing Innovations across multiple categories including; Homes & Housing, Food & Drink, Travel and Tourism, Ingenuity, Health and Wellbeing. Over 200 invited guests, including An Tánaiste, Frances Fitzgerald were in attendance at College Green, House of Lords, Dublin to witness the Awards. The Smart Ageing Innovation Awards were open for submissions from start-ups and small businesses with 30 employees or less who have designed and developed products and services that enhance the lives of any age group 50+. The Freebird Club, a Dublin based company founded by Peter Mangan, is a travel-based social club for older adults globally.  Operating as a homestay club, it allows members with spare rooms to rent them out to fellow members who wish to travel and meet like-minded people. In doing so it offers a whole new way of travelling for older adults, a means to unlock asset value in their homes and earn extra income, and a fun, accessible way to meet new people and enjoy social and cultural interaction in later life.

Speaking at the awards MC and successful entrepreneur Bobby Kerr said: ”I am delighted to support the Smart Ageing Innovation Awards in association with Bank of Ireland. I have enjoyed being part of an awards platform specifically designed to reward those in the smart ageing economy and I congratulate all the finalists. I look forward to meeting Peter Langan and team at our mentor session and am excited by the opportunities The Freebird Club opens up .” 

Dawn Bailey, Head of Seniors Banking, Bank of Ireland said: ”Ireland is one of the first countries in the world to transform a major societal challenge such as population ageing into a strategic business opportunity and Bank of Ireland are delighted to support the first ISAX Smart Ageing Innovation Awards. We are committed to supporting Irish business and as the Smart Ageing Economy continues to grow we look forward to working with ISAX in the future and to continue to drive business innovation among this growing demographic.”

Speaking at the presentation of the Awards, An Tánaiste, Frances Fitzgerald said: “The scale of the global  smart ageing market is huge and few countries have set up the kind of leadership required to help businesses exploit this new opportunity however in Ireland ISAX is paying a leading role working with our corporate businesses, academic institutions and small businesses and government agencies to create an eco-system that fosters collaboration to develop and commercialise solutions needed across sectors. Ireland is well placed to deliver on the ISAX vision of Ireland as an International test bed for smart-aging innovations. Whilst all entrants are winners there is one business that stood out to the judges and I congratulate The Freebird Club on that achievement.”

Anne Connolly, CEO, ISAX said: ‘”We urgently need new products and technologies that prevent the chronic diseases of old age, that keep people out of acute hospitals and staying living in their own homes and communities. We want our older populations to be and to feel safe – at home and when out and about. Our workplaces, cities, transport systems, municipal authorities and educational institutions will have to adapt to a world in which those aged 60+ will outnumber those under 15 for the first time in human history. The challenges are enormous, but they also represent opportunities to develop and commercialise solutions that address those needs.”

Connolly added “Growing a strong pipeline of scientifically ambitious and IP significant start-ups is a key element of a thriving smart ageing ecosystem. For that reason we commissioned TechIreland to complete a mapping of the new smart ageing companies in Ireland to assess the strength of that pipeline. The report’s objective is to draw attention to the new business opportunities that exist in the rapidly growing smart ageing economy and to spotlight the innovation that’s already happening in this market in Ireland. We are delighted that the awards have surfaced some of the breakthrough solutions needed.“

For more info on ISAX, please contact Aine Phelan –


ISAX and DCU Ryan Academy to deliver start-up programme for experienced business professionals

By | News, Press Releases

Ireland’s Smart Ageing Exchange (ISAX) and DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurs will deliver a business development programme for mature and highly experienced business professionals.

The programme forms part of new Enterprise Ireland competitive start fund targeted at experienced business professionals with 25 years or more of relevant business experience in Ireland or abroad, of which at least 10 years should be at a senior or leadership level.

Up to 10 successful applicants will receive high-level business development support and an investment of up to €50,000 each. Enterprise Ireland’s CSF is designed to accelerate the growth of start-ups and enable companies to reach key commercial and technical milestones.

As well as securing up to €50k in funding, the successful applicants will have the opportunity to participate in the business development programme. Delivered over three months by DCU Ryan Academy and ISAX, the programme will increase the capabilities of the participants and move them to investor-ready within a short period.

The fund is open to companies active in manufacturing and internationally traded services including Internet, Games, Apps, Mobile, SaaS, Cloud Computing, Enterprise Software, Lifesciences, Food, Cleantech and Industrial Products.

ISAX and DCU Ryan Academy have together previously delivered successful business start-up programmes for mature entrepreneurs and this new programme will enable us to build on the success of previous programmes to enable early stage companies fast-track their business development”.

Anne Connolly, Founder & CEO of ISAX, added:

“ISAX believes that experienced professionals at the peak of their career have a wealth of talent and expertise, accumulated over a life-time of working across different sectors.  These are enormous assets to anyone setting up a business and the Accelerator programme will enable the ‘mature entrepreneur’ tap into their own experience, networks and life experiences, bringing them to bear on their new businesses. 

We know from our own research, that people over the age of 50 are only half as likely to think about setting up a business, but that when they do they experience high success rates.  This new programme is a very important contribution to building awareness of this opportunity and attracting a new source of talent into the world of entrepreneurship”.

Eoghan Stack, Chief Executive, DCU Ryan Academy:

“DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurs and Ireland’s Smart Ageing Exchange (ISAX) are delighted to have been selected to work with Enterprise Ireland for the delivery of a start-up programme for Experienced Business Professionals and we welcome the recognition that this cohort of experienced professionals comes with a very cumulated industry expertise and life experience that is invaluable in creating ideal entrepreneurs.

The CSF competition opens for applications on Wednesday 11 October 2017 and will close at 3pm on Wednesday 25 October 2017.

Full details are available at


ISAX and Bank of Ireland call on mature Cork Entrepreneurs.

By | Ingenuity, Press Releases

Are you over 50 with a business idea that you would like to explore further?

5th October 2017: ISAX (Ireland Smart Ageing Exchange) and Bank of Ireland are further developing their partnership with the announcement of a new schedule of Ingenuity Build your Own Business programmes which are designed for individuals over the age of 50.   The programme is led by ISAX in partnership with Cork County Council and it’s Local Enterprise Offices Cork (LEO Cork North & West and LEO South Cork ) and is specifically tailored to meet the needs of mature adults

The eight-week programme includes workshops, bespoke mentoring, networking and the opportunity to pitch to a panel of investors on the finale night. The next programme starts on 17th October 2017 and will run every Tuesday and Thursday from 6.30pm to 9.30pm. It will run in Kinsale, from The Trident Hotel. Graduates of the programme have the option to join the Ingenuity Alumni Club.

Commenting Anne Connolly, Chief Executive, ISAX said: “We are delighted to have the support of Bank of Ireland as we continue to roll-out tailored courses for mature entrepreneurs throughout 2017. It’s a myth that starting your own business is only for young people.

“Mature entrepreneurs are almost twice as likely to launch high-growth start-ups as 20-24 year olds. They are more likely to have in-depth industry knowledge that can help to identify gaps in the market and establish a new venture successfully. They have more established professional networks, which can greatly assist in establishing viable business relations during start-up and growth.”

Kevin Curran, Head of Enterprise, LEO Cork North & West commented:

“Cork County Council and its Local Enterprise Offices Cork are delighted to be part of this programme. We are looking forward to the opportunity of working with ISAX and to provide a comprehensive start your own business programme for those aged over 50. Some of our very successful business owners, started in business aged over 50, when the time was right for them. With the right supports an idea can be nourished and can grow into a great business. This programme will provide invaluable practical learning, knowledge, and support as well as huge networking opportunities for those partaking in it. The LEOs Cork will be hosting this programme in Kinsale and are looking forward to welcoming participants to West Cork”.

A previous participant in the programme Michele Munnelly said: “One of the things I loved most about the course was the learning from each other and the generous sharing of contacts and expertise. Working with others over 50+ with the same ambition to start their own business was what really made it for me”.

The Cork Ingenuity Programme is starting on 17th October and applications are open until 12th October 2017.

Applications can be made online at:

Ends: For further information on the programme or to interview Anne Connolly, please contact:

Aine Phelan – – 087 2892905


Smart Ageing Innovation Awards Launch

By | Press Releases

Smart Ageing Innovation Awards Press Release

11th July 2017: ISAX (Ireland Smart Ageing Exchange) along with Bobby Kerr has launched the first Smart Ageing Innovation Awards in association with Bank of Ireland. The 2017 Smart Ageing Innovation Awards will recognise and celebrate companies with innovative products, technologies or services across multiple sectors all of which have been developed specifically for consumers age 50+


Addressing challenges and opportunities for those aged 50+ using social media

By | Media Library, News

Pictured, from left, was Aine Phealan, ISAX, Dr. Sarah Beecham, LERO, Gary Thompson, IBM and Prof. Ita Richardson, LERO.
Photo: Oisin McHugh True Media

Irish research programme to investigate if new social media platform can address challenges and opportunities for those aged 50+

  • Lero programme seeks volunteers aged 50+ to participate
  • “More than a LinkedIn, Facebook or online water cooler for all aged 50+”

Lero, the Irish Software Research Centre, IBM Ireland and ISAX (Ireland Smart Ageing Exchange) have announced a two year research programme which could result in a new social media platform which would allow older people to offer and receive volunteer services, make new friends and interact. The Science Foundation Ireland supported initial research programme is valued at an estimated €116,400.

Read More


5 Reasons to become a ‘Plus-Starter’ Entrepreneur

By | Ingenuity

What is a ‘Plus-Starter’? A Plus-Starter is someone aged 50+ starting a business. Many people in this age bracket feel they have much more to give and are starting a business but, why now? Couldn’t you sit back and enjoy your days of golf outings, coffee mornings and free time?

Well, apart from the customary motivating factor of being your own boss, here are 5 Reasons for someone aged 50+ to start a business:

1. Follow your passion

It’s time to use that business idea you feel passionately about that you’ve had ferreted away for too many years. Whether your business idea is in the field you have experience in or not, there is never going to be a better time to take a leap of faith. Don’t be afraid, back yourself and see where your passion takes you. When you’re older and finally feel it’s time to retire, trusting yourself and doing something you love is not going to be something you regret! Let’s not forget…

“Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

2. Higher Chance of Succeeding

Did you know, 70% of businesses started by people aged 50+ in the UK last at least 5 years, while only 28% started by younger people last that long according to Age UK. I bet you didn’t know that now, did you! Ride that rising wave into entrepreneurship.

Indeed, many famous people didn’t find success until later in life – Momofuku Ando (say that 3 times fast) struggled with bankruptcy and jail-time until he invented the infamous instant noodles at age 48 but it wasn’t until he was 61 that he found true international success. Testament to their popularity, instant noodles were voted the best invention of the 20th century in Japan. Very cool.

3. Use your Rich Networks

As you have been in the game for a long time, you might know people that can help your business. Many of our graduates from our 2016 Build Your Own Business programme, for those 50+, sang sweet songs about the fantastic connections they have procured through the course. Fortunately, another starts in September. This is due to everyone on it having a wealth of connections accrued from years of work experience. You are already ahead of the curve as many younger entrepreneurs have to work tirelessly to grow their network community.

4. Years of Experience

According to Enterprise Ireland,”50-64 years, have the highest rate of perception of good media coverage for entrepreneurs (80%), are the least inhibited through fear of failure from starting a business (35%).” Experience strengthens your resolve and instills a more steady confidence.

It doesn’t matter if it’s as a solicitor, bar-tender, financier or plumber you are almost certain to have wonderful real-life work experience. While younger entrepreneurs could happen to have a great network, a good business idea and work ethic, they can’t replace the life and work experience you have. Your unique depth of working knowledge built over decades cannot be replicated and be sure to remember, it is the strongest asset in your arsenal.


5. Retirement Fund

Whether you’re winding down your job or your offspring have finally sprung the nest, you might find yourself with a little more time on your hands. Your newly acquired free time is an opportunity. Instead of waiting for the pension to kick-in or bonds to fully mature, get out there and see what you can do. You never know, it could mean a nice supplement to your base.

Never forget, whatever your motivating factors, do something that you really want to do. Happiness is the most useful and emboldening motivation of all.

“Age is a hindrance in the corporate job world, but it’s a major benefit in the entrepreneurial world”

Jeff Williams, founder of

What is the Smart Ageing Community?

By | Focus Groups, Forum, Rewards, Smart Ageing, Smart Ageing Community

What is Smart Ageing?

“Smart ageing is a broad concept that has been defined as ‘using technology and innovation in both the public and private sectors to produce products, services, solutions, and systems to improve the quality of life of people ages 50 +”.

Programme of Actions for Smart Ageing – Department of an Taoiseach

Published 2016.

What is Smart Ageing Community?

At the very core of ISAX is our most important community, the Smart Ageing Community. This is a group of people aged 50+ from all walks of life who are interested in;

  • Contributing their accumulated life experience, wisdom and insights
  • Helping develop better products and services for all of us
  • Improving market knowledge of the 50+ demographic

The fast-growing community Is a valuable resource for companies, government agencies and academic researchers when imagining a near future with an increasingly older demographic.

Have you ever bought a new remote control and struggled with the buttons size or instructions for installation? Have you ever wondered what a company was considering when designing a product or service that just does not work for your needs?

Your voice can be heard! The Smart Ageing Community is a forum in which consumers age 50+ are consulted about a variety of issues including new technologies, health services and products, banking and much more.

JOIN now, be heard! CLICK HERE

  • Connect    join the Smart Ageing Community
  • Engage     have your say in helping develop better products and services
  • Reward     enjoy