by Wilma Norton in Foundation News
Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, AARP announce the Tampa Bay Caregiver Accelerator
The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and AARP today announced a new alliance to help caregivers – those involved with caring for the aging, veterans and children with special needs – develop innovative ideas, products, and services that meet the challenges that come with caring for a loved one.
AARP studies show that about 2.7 million Floridians now are unpaid family caregivers. As Florida’s population grows older and lifespans lengthen, those numbers will increase.
“Many of our donors are wrestling with these issues and want to support the efforts of caregivers,” said Marlene Spalten, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay. “People who are providing care daily are best equipped to come up with solutions to the day-to-day challenges caregivers face. Our goal is to connect them with the resources to develop those ideas and share them with other caregivers to improve the quality of life for Tampa Bay residents.”
“AARP in Tampa Bay is looking forward to working with our allies on this exciting initiative,” said Jeff Johnson, AARP’s Florida state director. “By combining advancing technology, entrepreneurial spirit and real-world insights from those who’ve been there, we can ease some of the formidable challenges that family caregivers face every day.”
The pilot program, called the Tampa Bay Caregiver Accelerator, first will identify potential entrepreneurs who have a promising idea related to caring for the aging, veterans or children with special needs.
The accelerator will provide training to help the aspiring entrepreneurs hone their ideas and assess the market for their potential product or service.
Once they have finished the training, each program participant will pitch a six-minute business model presentation at 1 Million Cups St. Petersburg, a free weekly gathering to educate, engage and connect entrepreneurs.
The first phase will culminate with the Tampa Bay Caregiver Conference, planned for May 2016 in St. Petersburg. The conference will be open to the public and will feature keynote speakers and educational tracks related to caregiving of the aging, veterans and children with special needs.
At the conference, six participants whose presentations were well-received at 1 Million Cups will pitch their business plans for potential investment.
The ultimate goal is to spur at least 50 new businesses in Tampa Bay as the result of the accelerator activity.
“We know that at some point in your life, you either will be a caregiver or need a caregiver,” says Bob Stephen, Vice President for AARP’s Caregiving Enterprise Strategy. “We hope that people who are caregiving can use their personal experience to create resources that can help someone else with the demands of caregiving. The learnings from Tampa Bay will serve as a model to guide AARP’s efforts to bring relevant services to caregivers nationwide.”
Learn more at www.caregiveraccelerator.com.