What if … development aid could work both as an aid to development and a way of activating the older working population in the developed world?
Think of the following scenario: we have highly trained, capable blue collar workers, high quality technicians that are being made redundant as more and more industry is moving out of Belgium.
Quite often, the competencies of these people is exactly what is sought after in developing nations. By engaging these people based on their expertise to go and add the value they can give in developing nations, we keep their expertise alive, keep them active in environments where their competencies are still required, respected and wanted, and we reduce the number of older workers being made redundant.
What if … we would be polling the creativity of blue collar workers which have been laid off in recent plant closures and use those ideas as the basis for new, partly government funded, partly crowd-sourced businesses?
Everyone has some creative ideas in them. I’m quite convinced that a few of the people being laid off in large groups in industries across Belgium have some very good and feasible ideas on new, relevant businesses.
Why not organize a competition for the best new business idea, with additional marks for ideas that will generate significant blue collar employment. The ideas would be reviewed and vetted by a group of independent experts, and the best ideas would get funding to start their business.
Funding would be 50% government funding (low interest loans) and 50% crowd funded (rates can differ depending on the required initial capital outlay) and the businesses would start on the business terrains abandonned by the large organizations leaving these premises.
It would generate a positive, creative environment, with the potential of developing different businesses supporting each other. Even if just 1% of these people have a good idea that generates employment for anywhere between 20 and 100 people, we would still cover a significant portion of those who are now destined to be long term unemployed. In addition, it would positively impact pride for these people, which, more than anything, is an essential power for the good.