AGING 2.0 Hosts #30in30in30 in Philadelphia
Aging 2.0, the global network of visionaries bringing forth life-changing innovations to older adults, hosts #30in30in30 (30 pitch events in 30 cities in 30 days).
The initiative was created to encourage local communities around the world to host pitch events for innovative products and services that enhance the lives of our beloved elderly. The tour kicked off on September 9, 2015 in Baltimore and arrived in Philadelphia on September 17th at the North Bowl, located in Northern Liberties.
Entering a bowling plaza at 2:30pm for an agenda of startup pitches designed for older adults seemed a bit odd at first. Philadelphia’s retro-style, 2-story event space, with its brightly lit bowling lanes, arcade games, spacious floor and bars, immediately pulled attendees into its relaxing embrace, as any social hangout would.
On the upper level we began with “a meet and greet” over treats. Then, in this first-of-a-kind movement, budding entrepreneurs, vendors, startups and established companies were given a platform; a five-minute window to pitch their product and services. Making the introductions was David Hunt, Aging 2.0 Philadelphia Chapter Ambassador, who energetically moderated the segment with professional ease and staunch objectivity.
Following each pitch was a brief question and answer period. The audience, including a panel of older adults, then voted via smart phones or laptops. The winner earns the chance to pitch to the larger 2.0 community and attend the AgeTech Expo in November. Today there were nine presentations. And while each of them, uniquely creative combined with cutting edge technology, three of them were among the top scorers.
Veteran Landscape designer Michael Cooke, founder of Hortus America in Williamsburg, Virginia, asks the question, “Can we do better as a profession designing gardens for the physically handicapped and cognitive disabled population?” Pulling from decades of experience designing accessible gardens, dementia gardens, walking and healing gardens along with his wife’s expertise in Gerontology, he answers with a newly created line of products accessible by all, either indoor or outdoor, for the purpose of physical, emotional and spiritual healing. Cooke pitched his original idea of a portable garden station which enables the elderly to garden without difficulty.
Then we had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Kenneth V. Giacobbo, a physician of internal medicine for over 24 years and creator of BrainKen, a comprehensive, customized, activity-based program for individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and Dementia. Interestingly, this program uses a targeted-approach in its design to stimulate the mind and body while addressing memory loss in the ever-growing Dementia population.
A senior home care service known as HOMETEAM—pitched by Arjun Bhimavarapu, VP of sales and marketing—develops long-term, individualized plans based on the understanding of the person’s life and specific needs. Explaining their position as “powered by technology and strengthened by a passion for delivering an optimal aging experience” struck a nerve in each of us; a possible solution to the improvement in the lives of our loved ones and caregivers.
A Great Chance to Network
At last, the networking happy hour began while the panel tallied up the votes. A reception of trendy, delicious favorites and a cash bar. Attendees eat heartily while mingling and shortly thereafter exchanged their footwear for those soft, tread-less bowling shoes and took to the allies. It was a win-win opportunity to connect and support innovators, engage with key constituents in the community and receive feedback. During this time of unwinding, David Hunt enlightened us about Philadelphia’s unique position for Aging 2.0’s initiative. The “City of Brotherly Love” is a “hotspot” boasting the largest amount of millennials in the country. It has a thriving health care system and education with good hospitals within an entrepreneurial environment. In Hunt’s words, “it’s a great ecosystem for meeting Aging 2.0’s objectives.”
The evening concluded with the announcement of the winning startup and the winning bowling team who were presented a trophy. Congratulations HOMETEAM! Participants, consumers and community leaders alike were happy and some excited about the experience. Improving the lives of older adults is not only a social responsibility; it pays homage to the ‘human bridge’ that brought us all over, and with innovation at work, it may even keep them among us a little longer. #30in30in30 brings clarity to a vision of a world where seniors are thriving in health, mobility and productivity. Coming to a city near you!