What is the Top 60 Over 60?
The Top 60 Over 60 is Canada’s only support community and recognition program that celebrates senior entrepreneurs (over the age of 60) who combine previous experience with passion and purpose to achieve social good.
Is the Top 60 Over 60 just a one-time event?
The Top 60 Over 60 is more than an event. In addition to a recognition/celebration of award winners to take place at a later date, we are building a community of interested participants and a platform where information, resources and success stories will be exchanged virtually as well as in a live community. Links to support you and enable active engagement and collaboration among the membership will be part of the design process. We will host space in libraries, innovation hubs, offices, or co-working spaces where members can work on ideas and projects. This is starting as an organic, grassroots process to build momentum.
Why start up the Top 60 Over 60 and why the focus on social innovation?
Here are a few reasons:
- To provide a force for social innovation by changing agist belief systems and encouraging the 60 + cohort to engage in new learning, new work, and new collaborative communities with and among other generations.
- To accelerate social change by debunking agist beliefs and to focus on entrepreneurship of the Boomer generation, many of whom are still interested in maintaining vibrant, active and meaningful lives.
- To shine a light on and amplify the stories of those who have achieved social change at later stages of their lives and to challenge agism by encouraging and supporting the 60+ cohort to engage in entrepreneurship.
Is there a need for the Top 60 Over 60?
There are numerous reasons why Canadians should be focusing on this cohort of older adults.
Statistics Canada predicts the population of seniors over 65, who currently outnumber youth under the age of 15 at 5.9 million, will double within two decades.
The notion of retirement has been changing over the past decade. Today’s 60 + demographic is more active, tech-savvy, ethnically diverse and better educated than the same age group of any previous generation. Although a diverse group, they have an almost universal appetite to contribute meaningfully to society, a characteristic that has always set this generation apart. They are also among the most successful entrepreneurs of any age group. Many want to go beyond volunteerism and cheque-book philanthropy to social entrepreneurship. They are often seeking new ways of reinvesting their experience, knowledge and skills. Canada needs to take advantage of this talent windfall.
Agism affects everyone on both ends of the age continuum. The accomplishments of those under 20, 30 and 40 are frequently highlighted with awards and recognition. We haven’t specifically celebrated the many successful entrepreneurial accomplishments of those over 60.
Many resources are available to youth for entrepreneurship skill development but few are dedicated to the 60 + cohort.
Canada needs more innovation to be successful in the 21st Century. The 60+ cohort is an untapped, growing and sustainable resource. If encouraged and harnessed, these experienced adults have unique resources to share with other generations.
Why focus on social innovation?
Research has proven that “purpose above self” in later years often becomes the reason for people to continue living healthy, active and productive lives. This benefits an aging society in more ways than one: it is of benefit to the individuals and their families; to healthcare costs and, therefore, to society; and to innovation and the economy.
What do you mean by social innovation, social enterprise and social entrepreneurship?
We have chosen to refer to social innovation in our descriptions because we feel it is more all-encompassing and we do not want to limit our scope of impact. Below, please note the various definitions that help define the differences. Our intent is to further social impact whether it be a not-for-profit, for profit or voluntary. See criteria described further along.
Social innovation: A social innovation is a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, just, or sustainable than current solutions. The value created accrues primarily to society rather than to private individuals.
Social Enterprise: Social enterprises are businesses created to further a social purpose in a financially sustainable way. Social enterprises apply business principles and practices to achieve social benefit. They reinvest their financial returns into the community to further their social purpose, to create employment and/or other economic and social benefits.
A social enterprise is also referred to as a "non-profit enterprise," "social‐purpose business," or "revenue‐generating venture" that operates with a "double bottom‐line" of generating financial return while simultaneously advancing a social mission.
Social Entrepreneurship: Social entrepreneurship is, at its most basic level, doing business for a social cause. It might also be referred to as altruistic entrepreneurship.
Social entrepreneurs combine business and social issues in a way that improves the lives of people connected to the cause. They don’t measure their success in terms of profit alone – success to social entrepreneurs means that they have improved the world, however they define that.
According to the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurs share several characteristics. They achieve large scale social change; focus on the social or ecological change they want to make while earning money to support the change; innovate when looking for a solution to a social problem; and use feedback to adapt and refine their product, process or system.
Who can participate?
We are inclusive. This initiative is an investment into current and future generations. After all, turning 60 will eventually happen to most of us (if we are lucky). We encourage anyone who is approaching 60 to belong to our community and start a venture. Equally, we invite Gen X and Gen Y (Millennials) to participate and collaborate with our 60+ cohort. We want to maximize our impact and help others find meaningful work as well.
When we select our winners, we will be looking for individuals or groups who are comprised of at least one 60+ member.
What plans are in place to recognize and celebrate “winners”?
The first step is to create a community of interested people to raise awareness about the Top 60 Over 60 and to provide resources, space, access to information to help those who want to engage in this new community.
To this end, we are organizing events and using this website to interest potential entrepreneurs. In 2018, we will hold a one day summit with researchers, policy makers, advocates, sponsors, community builders, consultants, entrepreneurs, marketers, politicians (and you) to begin the work. We are looking at opportunities to create, collaborate, discuss, engage and learn together throughout the year.
In 2018/19, we plan to offer our first recognition/award event.
What are the eligibility criteria for nomination?
To be selected, the candidate must be 60 years old by the application deadline. If the collaborative work is intergenerational, there must be a full participant who is at least 60 years old. The innovation must address a social problem. It can be a not for profit, for profit or a volunteer activity but has to have been created by the nominee as s/he approached 60. The innovation must be lawful and cannot be exclusively religious (or sectarian) but can be faith-based as long it is inclusive. Canadian citizens at home or abroad as well as landed immigrants or refugees are eligible to apply.
What characteristics does the nominee exhibit?
Innovation: The individual demonstrates a new approach to an existing problem, or a creative way of scaling up or expanding such an approach. Whatever the innovation is—product, service, model---it will be new.
Entrepreneurial: Entrepreneurs are enthusiastic, optimistic and future-oriented. They believe they'll be successful and are willing to risk their resources in pursuit of social impact.
Creative: Shows imagination and originality in solving problems or addressing issues. Demonstrates flexibility and determination.
Impact: Can show how they have made a tangible difference.
Does the nominee have to be earning an income from the innovation?
No, we encourage entries from candidates who work as volunteers, create non-profits or receive honoraria. There are endless ways in which someone can be innovative and have an impact without being paid.
What other considerations apply?
Candidates can have taken a new approach or designed a new system in non-profit, public or private sectors. The arts and culture are included as areas for innovation. Individuals can be working in government agencies, non-profits, hybrid organizations that combine characteristics of non-profit and for-profit businesses as long as the work results in a measureable, positive social impact locally, nationally or internationally.
If two or more nominees work on the social innovation, are they all eligible?
Yes, as long as they have shared equally in the partnership.
How does this differ from a life-time achievement award?
The intent of this recognition is to highlight those who started their entrepreneurial activity in later life, towards the 60 year mark or beyond. Winners are meant to serve as role models for others who might consider starting up something new at a later stage in life. This award will hopefully help to de-stigmatize aging.
Sources of definitions
Defining Social Innovation https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/faculty-research/centers.../defining-social-innovation
Definition of social Enterprise http://www.nesst.org/social-enterprise/
Social entrepreneurship https://www.shopify.com/blog/social-entrepreneurship