‘Sharing the passion’ on the future of home assistance

On the 20th of November, Shaerpa and SI2 Fund welcomed a diverse group of professionals to share insights on the pressing question that gave rise to SI2 Fund’s portfolio company Helpper: “How to address the growing demand for home assistance?”

 Demographic, epidemiological, social and cultural changes – especially the aging population – bring about many challenges for the care sector. With statistics predicting a threefold increase of the +75 population by 2050, it does not come as a surprise the demand for home assistance is much higher than the offer and continues to rise. On this ‘Sharing the Passion’ event, we put our heads together in search of solutions.

First on stage, social gerontology professor Dominique Verté cut to the chase clarifying the status quo of (home) care/assistance in Belgium: the focus lies on acute ‘spear point’ medicine, while the need for chronical care is more pressing than ever, there is a big gap between the haves and have nots, there is an enormous lack of people in the care professions, the main care providers – informal care givers – are overlooked and taxes will not be able to make up for the money we need. “Continuing the way we are working now is simply not possible. How can we organize our care system, and embed its lager legislative context, in a more sustainable way?  […]Doesn’t the solution for the aging challenge lie in the aging population itself?”

 

We are convinced social entrepreneurs have an important role to play in shaping sustainable solutions. We therefore invited care entrepreneur 2017 award winner Francois Gerard to introduce the piece of the puzzle proposed by his social enterprise Helpper: home assistance for and by neighbours. Through a compelling plea complete with farmers, cowboys and a video of a man in swim trunks, he explained the why, what and how of Helpper’s online sharing economy home assistance platform. As pointed out by Pieter Oostlander, the patient financing and tailored support provided by impact investors like SI2 Fund, helps strengthen such innovative enterprises and increase their impact.

With food for thought in abundance, we closed off the afternoon brainstorming: How should the future of home assistance be shaped? What is the role of sharing economy in the care/ assistance sector? And which position should Helpper, being a new kind of actor, take in the sector?

An afternoon of clarifying insights, interesting perspectives and innovative ideas, all leading one final conclusion: Let’s take care of our future!