#GOINGTOIEU

25/06/2024

As part of the IE Challenge, a team of students developed Wizer, a unique app designed to tackle the loneliness epidemic among the elderly population.

IE University is an institution rooted in entrepreneurship. Transversal and far-reaching, you can find elements of it in all our programs, projects and initiatives. As a result, our students learn to use entrepreneurial thinking to innovate and discover effective solutions for business and social challenges—laying the groundwork for a lifetime of impact.  

The IE Challenge, a hub for positive change

Every academic year, students have the chance to participate in hands-on projects designed to address real-world issues with the IE Challenge. This initiative allows them to partner with real companies that want to boost their impact on matters related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

The IE Challenge is part of IE Impact, a multidisciplinary program that contributes 21 ECTS to students’ final grades. Built around IE University’s values, it covers courses in technology, entrepreneurship and the humanities before culminating in the practical, group-based IE Challenge.

In the IE Challenge, students from diverse backgrounds and different academic programs come together for a common purpose. They collaborate in groups, pooling their unique knowledge, skills and talents to develop innovative solutions for startups and established companies, driving positive impact in the process.   

Connecting older generations through Wizer

One of the exciting projects to emerge from this round of the IE Challenge is Wizer, an application designed to tackle loneliness among older generations. The Wizer team was composed of seven students from different programs: 

For this project, our students partnered with MAPFRE, one of the biggest insurance providers in Spain and Latin America. They were tasked with developing solutions that would improve outcomes for the elderly population and chose the loneliness epidemic as their focus topic.

Team members Aurelia, Tiago, Beatriz and Kenza talked us through Wizer’s development process and explained what the group hopes to achieve with this revolutionary app.

Why did your team choose to focus on the topic of loneliness?

Beatriz: The issues of marginalization and loneliness among the elderly resonated with the whole group, as we all have observed its importance and were personally motivated to look for a change. 
Aurelia: Loneliness is much more common than we assume, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. While younger generations have found a new digital world and different ways to stay in touch, older people have been left behind. It was clear to us that in order to combat this issue, we must find ways to better integrate elderly populations into society using tech. Everyone deserves to be connected and to feel a sense of belonging, regardless of age.

How does Wizer accomplish that?

Kenza: Essentially, it is an app that connects the elderly in their communities; they can look for people with similar interests as well as nearby events. The app also provides a discussion space with interest clubs based on music, politics, art and sports. Wizer’s main objective is to foster meaningful, long-lasting relationships while promoting well-being through activities and health articles written by medical experts. It is designed to be simple and easy for anyone to use. 
Tiago: Wizer is different from other projects because there are essentially no competitors in this market. While doing research, we couldn’t find many examples of people who did that before us because it is a very fresh and unique idea. Wizer connects the elderly to others in their community and to younger generations, using a process similar to dating apps to match people. We also offer activities and events to further enrich these connections in a safe space.

Wizer stands out by focusing on content that resonates with older people, which ensures relevance and engagement

Aurelia Bogucka, Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.)

What did you and your team learn from developing Wizer?

Beatriz: We learned that teamwork is fundamental—not just for this project but for any venture in life. Developing Wizer also provided me with insights into how I can promote social change in the future, reflecting my values and career intentions. 
Tiago: I learned how to conduct a deep study of people’s needs through empathetic research, including how to interview people on sensitive topics and how to find solutions for issues that you don’t necessarily have personal experience with. No matter what path my career takes, I’ve gained the skills to be a more empathetic and sensitive professional.

How will the IE Challenge and this project shape your future careers?

Aurelia: This project highlighted the importance of creating new, innovative technology solutions that address the digital divide between older and younger generations. These valuable social entrepreneurship skills will help me continue to create impactful technological solutions in the future.
Kenza: I plan on starting my own venture in the future, so this challenge has provided me with invaluable insights into product development, finance, management and marketing. These skills will be invaluable for me in any industry I decide to work in.

Equipped for impact

Wizer is set to transform how older generations interact and connect with each other. With the negative impacts of loneliness well-documented, helping older people build stronger relationships will lead to longer, happier and healthier lives.

This is just one of the success stories from the IE Challenge. We can’t wait to see what our students will accomplish next!