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Gerontology Impact Startup Challenge: Innovation for an Ageing Society

For the first time ever, the SUSS Impact Startup Challenge (ISC) was matched to an industry theme – Gerontology – to support our students’ deeper dive into designing solutions targeted at specific fields. A nine-week long module that equips students with the key tools and knowledge to build a startup, the ISC culminates in a rare finale special to pitch to industry experts and investors.

Under this special challenge focused on Gerontology, the study of the social, cultural, psychological, cognitive, and biological aspects of ageing, students were challenged to address urgent problem statements set by local social service provider, AWWA, to resolve some of the most commonly experienced issues faced by the elderly. 

On the demo day which took place the 31st of July, industry and investment experts, hailing from Ageing Asia, Peritia Technologies, Timeliss as well as Vertex Ventures took to the judging panel. They were most impressed by the host of ideas that our students had pitched within the short span of the programme. 

Participants of the Gerontology Startup Challenge

While it was a tough decision for the judges, after rounds of deliberation, the Smar(T)ee startup emerged as champions! Their proposition was a simple yet fruitful one – using smart QR Codes to help identify seniors in case of medical emergencies, especially if they are lost or in unfamiliar places.

Full-time SUSS Marketing student and a member of Smar(T)ee, Angela Chen, revealed, “The Gerontology Impact Startup Challenge has been extremely fulfilling as it allowed my team to gain a deeper insight into the issues surrounding Singapore’s Ageing population; and it was through this understanding that my team had further developed our ideas into something viable.”

Coming in second was WakePal, a startup that aims to improve the ease and transparency of arranging for funerals for loved ones. Understanding the difficulties that a family goes through when losing a loved one and empathising with them on any unanticipated costs associated with the process of funeral planning, this startup aims to set up a digital platform which allows for pre-planning of such services so that people do not have to burden their loved ones when they pass on.

Shared Dr Kelvin Tan, SUSS Senior Lecturer cum trainer for the module, “This being the first Gerontology track for Impact Startup Challenge marks a new milestone in SUSS in leading the movement of intersecting innovation and needs of the older adults. We are delighted that the students from multi-disciplinary majors have participated actively and worked together to co-create innovative startup ideas for this field.”

With every round of Impact Startup Challenge, more innovative ideas are discovered with the potential to create positive ripples in our society.

In the upcoming January 2022 semester, we will be bringing in yet more opportunities for students to develop startup ideas with ISCs focused on Sustainability, Gerontology, coupled with a six-day regional event with our partners in the ASEAN-China region. Stay tuned for more impactful ideas and projects pitched by our students!

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