Vollpension: Intetration Coffee House for Old & Young

Vienna, AustriaVienna
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Vollpension is a social integration coffeehouse with grandma’s familiarity, cakes and inter-generational stories. A public place, where jobs for seniors are created to counteract poverty among the elderly while promoting the exchange among old & young people. Away from stereotypes and prejudices towards better mutual understanding and co-operative work.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

1. Generation gap and social isolation: The generation gap is a vital problem in all European societies, especially in bigger cities. One reason is that many young people move into urban centres and thereby lose contacts to senior citizens as these are mostly family-based. The public sphere or private institutions are not equally frequented by young and older generations, prejudices and stereotypes on both sides arise. 2. Job market and poverty among the elderly: In Austria 600.000 female retirees live alone, one quarter lives below the poverty line, another quarter is only EUR 58 away from the poverty line. There are many prejudices about elderly people especially on the jobmarket which makes it hard to find a meaningful, proper job.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We want to - create meaningful and dignified jobs for elderly people and show that especially those people who often are assented and excluded from society have a lot to contribute - support generational dialogue and foster understanding for different generations and resolve reservations, stereotypes and prejudices - make senior citizens' life stories, "recipies" and wisdom accessible to younger people - raise awareness in the society and among companies that the elderly can contribute a lot and that it makes sense to be open, get in touch and talk to each other
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Charlotte is 72 years old, former chamber maid in Hotel Imperial Vienna. Her pension is around EUR 900, she was always looking for a job because from her pension it is hard to live well, but no one wanted her as employee. Charlotte does not only like to bake cakes, she has a lot of stories to share. Charlotte has participated in the Vollpension pop-up pilot coffee houses. "I would have never thougth that on my old days I would get such a beautiful job and be surrounded by so many nice people." And because the whole team appreciates Charlotte and her cooking skills, we were also happy to support her with for older people challenging situations like moving to another flat. In exchange we enjoyed her self-made original Viennese Tafelspitz.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Right now, Vollpension is a temporary activity with flexible opening hours. By June 2014 we plan to establish Vollpension in Vienna as a permanent coffee house, managed as a social business. In three years we want to have three Vollpension locations in Austria and three more in other European cities. Our vision is to become the first "Senior Social Franchise" concept. Like this we will be able to employ and integrate more seniors, raise awareness for poverty among elderly and over all provide a positive example for intergenerational co-operation.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

We know about two projects that show similar aspects as Vollpension: The Cafe NANA (UK, www.wearenana.com) opended after Vollpension in 2012, NANA is a Pop-up cafe, with the goal " to initiate a space in which everyone is welcome ." Focus is on the local operation without program of events to raise awareness and the seniors work on a voluntary basis and do not get a salary. The Senior Design Cafe in Zurich (CH, www.senior-design.ch) is a gastronomic establishment where seniors are compensated for their work. Awareness through event program and the visibility of older people are missing . The special feature of our approach, in comparison with these two mentioned approaches, is our overall concept which combines, in a unique way, job creation for senior citizens, providing a public space for intergenerational dialogue and preparing awareness raising activities.


The social-mission organisations originally initiated the project and will now have the role to measure the social impact of the venture on a continuous basis. They also develop the awareness raising events. The social business enterprise will be responsible for the regular operation of the coffeehouse. Further business partners support dissemination. On a personal level our team consists of a variety of characters; in our team we have - finance and marketing expertise which is important for raising awareness through media and financial planning (corporation) - catering expertise for running the operational coffee house (social-mission org.) - eventmanagement for our inter-generational events (social-mission org.) - "ombudsman" with professional background in counseling for making sure our seniors are doing great (social-mission org.)
About the Lead Co-Creation Partners
Gebrüder Stitch GmbH
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Type of organization (e.g. NGO, association, not-for-profit, foundation, social enterprise)


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Organization Name

Gebrüder Stitch GmbH

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Lead Contact First Name


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Organization Website
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Project Starting Year


Primary European Country where this Project is creating social impact

, WIE, Vienna

Additional European countries where this Project is creating social impact
Select the category that best fits the type of your project:

Job Creation: Entries in this category create new jobs for people away from the labor market.

What awards or honors has the project received?
Project Summary
Co-Creation Model: Tell us about your main strategic partners and how the partnership truly create value. For each Partner please include its type (business/social/public), its name, a short description, its key motivation to participate in the co-creation project, and the key contributions it is making in the co-creation project. Please follow the format displayed below:

-Partner: Caritas Vienna
-Type of partner: social
-Short description sentence: Caritas Vienna is one of the biggest Austrian NGOs in the social sector.
-Key motivation to participate in the co-creation project: Caritas wants to promote intergenerational dialogue and aims to integrate socially excluded people into society - exactly what we do.
-Key contributions in the co-creation project: Caritas was a cooperation partner in our first pilot pop-up, supporting with second-hand furniture and volunteers.

-Partner 2: Whatchado.net
-Type of partners: business
-Short description sentence: Whatchado tells life- and job-stories via videos in order to help younger people finding their jobs.
-Key motivation to participate in the co-creation project: To make life-stories available - this is also what we do. Through the cooperation publicity for both of us and the topic itself is strengthened.
-Key contributions in the co-creation project: Whatchado creates vidoes from our seniors, available on an extra Vollpensions-Channel: http://www.whatchado.com/de/search/?query=vollpension

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact. Please specify using qualitative and quantitative data (e.g. # of indirect and direct beneficiaries); help us understand how this solution truly makes a difference.

Vollpension started as 10 day-pop-up in September 2012. Since then we had around 50 opening days (2 x during christmas time in Vienna and in August 2013 at the European Forum Alpbach). We were able to employ 15 seniors on half-time base. Beside supporting our direct beneficiaries (the seniors) we also want to raise awareness on the value of intergenerational exchange among our guests through specific event formats that foster exchange between young and old (e.g. generation-speeddating, "Seniors-Evening"). Additional media activities allow us to also reach the general public with these awareness-raising topics.
In numbers: 200 guests per opening day, over 40 events, 6 Mio. media contacts.

Funding: How is your project financial supported? [select all that apply]

Individuals, National government, Customers.

Sustainability Plan: Has your project already reached financial sustainability? If not, what is this solutio’s plan to ensure financial sustainability? Do the main partners have enough stake to sustain the solution? If this project requires limited budget, how will other resources be secured to maintain or grow this work?

To date Vollpension is a temporary activity with flexible opening hours. The described pop-up projects were cost-effective. For our next step we need investment which will be covered partly by Austrian foundations.
The next step is to establish a social business enterprise which will be responsible for the regular operation of the coffeehouse. Further business partners support dissemination. The social-mission organisations originally initiated the project and will now have the role to measure the social impact of the venture on a continuous basis.

Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the Partners to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

The founding story is a personal one: The founders all grew up in small villages in the Austrian countryside, embedded in the social life of big families. As adults, after having lived in Vienna for some years, we noticed that we were missing common activcities with senior citizens.
So we tried to fill this gap by creating an intergenerational coffee house - based on the idea that "people come together while eating". The room concept includes a designer "old kitchen" purposefully exaggerating stereotypes in order to provoke reflection of these cliches. By talking to each other, within this exceptional setting, mutual learning and respectful interaction are encouraged, prejudices and barriers are reduced.

About the Co-Creation
Barriers: What main barriers may you have encountered to co-create during the creation and implementation of the project and how did you try to overcome them?

It was not so easy in the beginning to find social and financial balance. Seeing the project Vollpension out of a pure business and marketing perspective it is important to have enough revenues - enough guests. Regarding it "with social impact lenses" it is important to focus on the people, especially the seniors and make sure they are doing great and also to focus on fostering the intergenerational communication. What helped us as team was to re-start again and again, to learn from each pop-up prototype and integrate what needed to be learnt.

Governance: What is the type of the relationship between the partners? (e.g. joint venture, contractual relationship, joint project...)

Vollpension is a joint project. Gebrüder Stitch produce socio-and eco-friendly locally made jeans. They offered not only half of their factory room for the coffee house, but also supportet with media- and marketing knowledge and creating the concept. Through the association "Verein zur Förderung ökosozialer Projekte u. Innovationen" Gebrüder Stitch gained attention on their business.

Interaction model: How is the project a transformative partnership? How is the interaction transforming the partnering organizations and their employees/ leadership in terms of creating a new vision, new management practices, new skills and new organizational structures? Please provide for concrete examples

Vollpension was a milestone on Gebrüder Stitch' way to becoming a social business. The spirit and culture of Vollpension and its people influenced also the atmosphere in the factory. Charlotte, one of our seniors, is still cooking once a week a lunch for the team-members of Gebrüder Stitch.

On the level of personal leadership style there are two words that describe the learning and transformation process of our partnership: compassion and accountability. Compassion without accountability gets you nowhere, and accountability without compassion gets you alienated. Both skills are important for sustainably running a social business.

How did you find out about this competition?

Impact Hub Vienna