AGE-WELL competition for startups addressing aging sector, caregivers

Canadian research network AGE-WELL has announced a national competition for Canadian startups whose technologies or services can improve quality of life for older adults or their caregivers.

The AGE-WELL National Impact Challenge: Startup Edition is looking to recognize top startups in Canada’s technology and aging sector, and support entrepreneurship in the industry.

“This challenge will increase awareness of top startups in the tech and aging space and support innovations.”

“We’re excited to be launching this challenge, which will increase awareness of top startups in the tech and aging space and support innovations that can help shape the future of aging,” said Alex Mihailidis, scientific co-director and CEO of the AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE).

Applicants from across the country will be challenged to explain how their solution can positively impact older Canadians and/or caregivers. Five finalists will compete in each of three regional pitch competitions, held in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. Travel support will be provided, and the winner of each regional competition will receive $15,000 in cash plus in-kind prizes.

The University of Toronto’s The Impact Centre, Ontario Brain Institute, YouAreUNLTD, and MEDTEQ are all sponsors of the competition.

The winner of last year’s competition was Waterloo-based Marlena Books, which created an app designed to help people with later-stage dementia continue reading. The app features accessibility features such as automatic page turning and stories touch on themes of interest to older adults, and can even be personalized so the reader becomes the main character in the book. Marlena Books took home a $75,000 in prizes including cash and in-kind services.

“AGE-WELL has a broad mandate designed to respond to the pressing challenges of an aging population and to seize the opportunity that technology offers,” says Mihailidis. “The AGE-WELL National Impact Challenge aligns perfectly with our focus on practical solutions that help people in everyday life and bring social and economic benefits to Canadians.”

As a network of health professionals focused on finding healthtech solutions to the challenges of aging, AGE-WELL previously opened up its Core Research Program 2020 to 2025 in order to find RFPs eligible to receive a Catalyst grant of up to $30,000 with a one-year term.

Those interested in applying to this new challenge can do so at the competition’s website.

Caitlin Hotchkiss

Caitlin Hotchkiss

Content coordinator, social media smartypants, wordsmith, Human Workflow™. Exists primarily on coffee, cat pictures, German dance metal, and pro wrestling. I will fight for your right to the Oxford comma.

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