Spain is among the European countries with the highest share of people aged 80 and more, with 6% of their population belonging to this age group , while it is 5% in Slovenia and only 3% in Ireland (Eurostat, 2016, data on life expectancy). In addition, rural areas are the regions welcoming the most elderly persons in Spain, with 17% of the rural population being over 65 (Eurostat, 2015, « People in the EU: who are we and how do we live? »). The lack of village services and shared transport offers in these regions is a major difficulty for older adults to access goods and services in their daily lives. How to reverse this trend?
SILVER SMEs is supporting the development of new rural SMEs in the Silver Economy with the intrinsic objective of generating services and goods that will contribute to improve the quality of life within an ageing society, in particular in rural or remote EU areas. To achieve this goal, SILVER SMEs wishes to improve the implementation of Regional Policies supporting SMEs competitiveness.
La Exclusiva: from concept to delivery
During the course of the project, the Society for the Development of the Province of Burgos (SODEBUR) - one of our Spanish project partners - met with Victoria Tortosa, a local entrepreneur. Interested in the project, she follows SODEBUR’s activities and attended SILVER SMES’ international conference on active ageing in Slovenia. Indeed, back in May 2013, Victoria realized that villages of the neighbouring Province of Soria were facing an important lack of goods and services and that the ageing population of the Province was the first to suffer from it. Thus, she got the idea to develop an enterprise which would improve their quality of life by delivering first necessity products at home.
3 months later, “La Exclusiva” was born and a network of 5 routes in the Province was designed, serving 24 villages where a high demand for home delivery services was identified. The success of their idea led Victoria and her associate Hugo to expand their services. Now, not only do they deliver first necessity foods and items but also newspapers, electronics and medicines as well as help for older adults in reading their electricity invoices.
In 2017, after having extended its routes and services in its pilot area of the Province of Soria, La Exclusiva expanded its activities to the Province of Burgos – a Province covered at 27% by rural areas and welcoming more than 82.000 adults above 65.
Photo credits: La Exclusiva
5 reasons why it worked so well
A good geographical coverage. There is one itinerary for each weekday in the Province of Soria. Starting from the collection of products in the capital city, some routes then cover more than 40 villages in a day.
No added costs. La Exclusiva negotiated prices of products with 5 suppliers, among which Leclerc supermarkets for instance. Therefore, there is no added costs for end users. Each village gets a dedicated mailbox for the service, where each week the deliverer drops leaflets promoting available products.
A free delivery. In addition to the negotiated prices of products, partners chains and providers are covering the costs of the service. Each week, older adults get delivered at home for free.
A user-friendly service. To facilitate the process, 5 ways to make an order exist:
- By listing desired products on a paper for the deliverer,
- By listing desired products on a paper and dropping it in the dedicated mailbox of the village,
- By ordering on La Exclusiva’s Website
- By phone call
- By sending an email
A reliable assistance. A specific software has been designed to centralise all the orders and to rationalise the delivery route. It can register orders up to 48 hours before the delivery day. It is also reliable for suppliers, who always receive orders 24 hours before the delivery days, via the same software.
Social benefits of La Exclusiva’s services
More than 400 older adults are already benefiting from the delivery service proposed by La Exclusiva. In this rural Province, where some habitations are remote, La Exclusiva managed to reintroduce social interaction between people and to improve the quality of life of the ageing population.
Benefits of the delivery service are even going beyond the supply of basic products. 60% of beneficiaries indeed declared they modified their eating habits, thanks to the wide panel of available products.
1 older adult even moved back in his village, after one year in a retirement house, and 2 other clients decided to stay at home too. La Exclusiva then seems as well to help fighting depopulation in these rural areas. Furthermore, it is participating to a virtuous circle by creating jobs in the Silver Economy sector, with La Exclusiva counting 5 employees in the Province of Soria only.
For more information, please watch La Exclusiva’s video.