Release date: 8 September 2011
A national challenge to all sectors of business was launched today with a prize fund of £495,000. The Keeping Connected Business Challenge, delivered by the Technology Strategy Board and the Design Council, will look to develop innovative services that keep older adults better connected.
An ageing population offers an unprecedented opportunity for doing business differently, for expanding existing markets or creating new ones. An estimated 80% of the UK’s wealth is controlled by those aged over 50.
Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said: "One of the key elements of ageing is the need to continue to feel connected – to those we care about, to the places we live in and to the society of which we are a part. This competition provides businesses with a great opportunity to develop innovative services that meet a universal, and growing, future market."
The desire to feel connected is universal. The social connections older adults have with their families, friends, neighbours and local communities can reduce over time. The Keeping Connected Business Challenge is founded on the belief that a significant commercial opportunity exists in enabling older adults to be better connected.
Teams of businesses and designers will pitch their ideas for a share of £495K. The assessment panel will look for service ideas that are new and innovative with potential for commercial exploitation and scalability. The teams need to demonstrate a genuine understanding of the needs and wants of consumers and translate early stage ideas into viable business propositions. If successful they will have 5 months to develop their idea and be provided with professional support. More information on the challenge is available on www.keepingconnected.co.uk
David Kester, Chief Executive of the Design Council said: "This is a perfect opportunity to use a design approach to address this significant market opportunity - to find what really works for people in their daily lives. We are excited to see what business, technology and design collaborations are formed and the solutions that will result."
The programme is being run through the Technology Strategy Board’s Assisted Living Innovation Platform (ALIP), which is responding to the challenge of the demographic shift – in essence promoting independent living and improved quality of life by making the technology better, cheaper, more desirable and more relevant.