The “new normal” of a rapidly aging world needs new solutions, and the AgePower Tech Search seeks to find and help launch them. AgePower was introduced today by Ecumen, a Minnesota-based non-profit senior housing and services company, which serves more than 10,000 people, and MOJO Minnesota, an innovation cooperative and advocacy force working to fuel entrepreneurship and a culture of innovation. AgePower’s national advisory board can be viewed at agepower.org.
AgePower’s intent is to locate, reward and help launch new high- and low-tech technology and innovation that have a positive, near-term impact on the aging experience. AgePower is open to start-ups, innovators and long-established companies globally. AgePower differs from “incubators” or “accelerators” in that its focus is on transforming the future of aging and providing real-life test environments, along with access to business and invention experts in key areas necessary to fueling a successful new venture.
Aging represents a global innovation opportunity. Today 900 million people in the world are over age 60. By 2050 that number will have grown to 2.4 billion. As World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan says, “Being in the older age group is becoming the ‘new normal’ for the world’s population.” It’s not just the sheer size of those numbers, but these demographic realities impact every aspect of living. The “new normal” of a rapidly aging world needs new solutions.
“Society has long looked at aging as a challenge, but it is one of the world’s great innovation opportunities,” said Kathryn Roberts, President and CEO of Ecumen. “From better coordinating health care services, to enhancing social connections, to making life easier and more fun, we believe the nexus of people and technology can open the door to new possibilities that improve lives and use resources better.”
Ernest Grumbles, a MOJO Agitator and one its co-founders, noted that “the aging demographic tidal wave is going to drive technology change at high speed.”
The AgePower Submission Process
AgePower will take submissions until Oct. 31, 2013 at agepower.org. A joint Ecumen and MOJO committee will select up to four technologies/companies to receive a six-month field trial among Ecumen clients, residents and employees. In addition, finalists will gain access to the expertise of leading Minnesota business advisors, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, engineers, and others who comprise MOJO Minnesota.
This combination is designed to help expedite a move to market either through a company’s own investment, outside investment, acquisition by an investor or other means. In return, Ecumen and MOJO will receive a small equity stake to align interests with the tech innovators for market success and dispersion of new, life-enhancing technologies. Test environments will include in-home settings, assisted living communities, Ecumen sites providing Alzheimer’s and dementia care, and clinical settings with short-term physical rehabilitation services and/or more intensive long-term care.