SĀGE: New Gig Marketplace Taps Boomers' Expertise
Platform to allow over-60s to monetize from their expertise by teaching online classes.
In July 2019, Esther Hershcovich was looking for a way to keep her parents, Montrealers in their 70s and 80s, active and to create something that could be a meaningful way for them to spend their extra time, and bring in supplemental income at the same time.
She wondered about the gig marketplace and the flexibility it offered, and tried to think of ways to give the 60+ community an opportunity to tap into it. In her research, she noticed one immediate commonality: most were targeted towards millennials or those currently in the workforce. Meanwhile, retirees with an entire career’s worth of wisdom to dispense were seeking ways to remain productive but felt excluded from existing online platforms or subtly discriminated against based on their age.
Spotting an opportunity to connect the two demographics and solve a problem, Esther started building a platform that would connect retirees and their community, with the goal of bridging the generation gap, the only rule: those offering classes would need to be more than 60 years old upon registration. The idea was that any given user can set a radius, and find sāges in their community who they can meet up with to learn a new skill.
When she was put into quarantine a month ago, she realized her platform would have to be put on hold because of social distancing, unless she could change it. Esther saw she had a product that can help so many older adults who were temporarily homebound and immediately took the platform online.
The marketplace is seeing “sāges” — those teaching the classes — sign up since its launch this month. They have sāges from Canada, US, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Israel etc.
New lessons are being added daily including hobbies sketching and illustrations, health classes taught by a chiropractor and a midwife, and business-oriented activities like public speaking, public relations, and perfecting excel skills. The only qualification for sāges, besides being more than 60 years old, is that they speak English — registration is currently open on a worldwide basis.
The lessons are currently delivered entirely online through video chats and sāges are provided with detailed guidelines to help them deliver classes in the most effective way possible and walked through the process until they feel ready to deliver — and the sāge team is on hand to help them work through any technical challenges they might face in getting set up for teaching. Although Hershcovich has been planning the venture for six months, she says that the online-friendly format will also provide a creative and professional outlet for those currently undergoing quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic.
At this point sāges are volunteering for 1-2 hours a week to teaching their skill through '20 minute coffee break classes' to eager participants. This allows the platform to collect reviews and bring a stronger product to the market in another month or two, with fixed rates set by the sāges for their class.
Hershcovich says that the platform, which is based in Tel Aviv, aims to partner those providing an array of services spanning both professional and personal topics with learners. The passion and commitment of the sāges is the key to creating meaningful connections, Hershcovich says.