WisR is a networking platform that matches job-seeking, talented elderly people to young entrepreneurs and innovative employers. The goal of the project is to re-integrate the elderly into the working environment, facilitate experience sharing, and bridge the generation gap.
Klaudia Bachinger is the founder of WisR and she is really active. If you are a frequent visitor at the Hub, chances are you have seen her hustling about. She took time out of her busy day to talk to us about how her venture came to be, the obstacles along the way, and the vision she has for the future.
How did WisR start?
Klaudia: WisR started with an idea, which was to create a platform that pairs elderly people, who still want to work and have a lot of knowledge, with young innovative companies, who need that knowledge. The goal is to re-integrate skilled elderly people into the working environment and enable a knowledge and expertise transfer to the next generation. I believe that this is something that is missing in today’s society. I told one of my best friends about the idea and he said, “That’s a great idea! Go do it!”.
WisR was selected to be part of the RE: Wien development program. How do you find it so far? What does it mean for WisR?
The program is great! We’re in this wonderful group with other startups and we’re all exchanging ideas, which has been fantastic for WisR. The experts and mentors that are part of the program have also been incredibly supportive. They are giving very helpful insight on how we can get to the next step.
What are some of the difficulties WisR has had to overcome to get to where it is now?
I feel that there are difficulties every week or every two weeks–let’s just say, there’s a lot of ups and downs in starting your own venture but I’d have to say the greatest difficulty so far has been finding the right team. Finding the right people who share your vision, who complete you on both a personal and professional level, and who are willing to jump into the entrepreneurial world has been a challenge. Many people in Austria are understandably not prepared to give up their steady jobs and a certain standard of living to work in a startup.
The other big challenge is that WisR is a two-sided platform–we want to fulfil the needs of both groups at the same time. That can be difficult in reality. Let’s say we have a highly skilled senior with a particular expertise. It’s entirely possible that in our current portfolio of companies, there’s no need for that skill and vice-versa so we’re working hard right now to fill those two talent pools to increase the number of both seniors and companies in order to increase the chances of a match.
Who should join WisR? What kind of people are WisR looking for?
We’ve got two sides. The elderly and the young innovators. So on the elderly side, we’re looking for people who are future-oriented, who want to share their experience but are open to learning new things, who like innovation, and who are interested in connecting with young people. On the company side, we’re looking for startups, innovative companies, companies of any size who are open to the idea of benefiting from the skills and expertise of underutilised elderly people.
What would you like to see WisR become?
I’d like to see WisR become a community and an inter-generational movement, where people start rethinking the concept of age, and where ideas, knowledge, wisdom, and experience can flow back and forth between generations. Like I said before, this is something that is lacking right now. As I was growing up, it was perfectly normal for multiple generations to live in one house and there was more of a connection between the young and the old. People are now moving away, living alone in large highly populated cities where it’s easy to become anonymous and isolated. While people might think that it’s only the elderly who are isolated, there is however an increasing number of young people who feel the same. This is why I’d like to see WisR become a community, not just to connect skilled people, but to have these people come together, making the world a less lonely place.
How can Impact Hub members help WisR?
Approach us if you’re looking for a specific skill or somebody, who can support your venture! Or if you are a freelancer looking for support in whatever way! We’d love to have you on our platform and help you look for solutions.