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Intergenerational Entrepreneurs

Innovators and entrepreneurial spirits come in all ages at Baycrest Health Sciences. On Friday, August 19, members of the first Intergenerational Institute for Entrepreneurs at Baycrest gathered in Loftus Hall to share their visions of the future.

Ten students and six seniors, ranging in age from 13 to 93, participated in a 5-day program aimed at fostering entrepreneurial skills and design-thinking. Run by the Culture & Arts department at Baycrest, experts from across the organization ran workshops throughout the week. Participants worked together to discuss and solve challenges based on real-world issues.

Cassandra Zita, organizer of the Intergenerational Institute for Entrepreneurs, says the main focus of the program was to get people of all ages working together and to question how things can be done better. “All of our activities were linked to the way we wanted our participants to think each day,” says Zita. “We used dance lessons, for example, to break down barriers and create a judgment-free space.”

The group spent the week learning and working together through dance, meditation, martial arts and discussions about intergenerational and inclusive communities. At the end of the week, groups created and presented prototypes of new community spaces to a panel of judges. Teams were awarded certificates for innovation, application of technology, forward-thinking solutions, and community vision.

“These young people are amazingly articulate. Their education went a lot further than mine and I’m learning a lot from them,” says Pearl, an Institute participant. “They are creative, artistic and great company. These students give me great hope for the future.”

The prototype communities will be on display at the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation’s LaunchPad Studio in September.

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