Making a Business Pitch for Aging. Right here in Toronto!

Who says aging isn’t a business opportunity? Not the folks at Aging 2.0.

PrintOn Tuesday evening May 24th the Toronto Chapter of Aging 2.0 is holding its Global Start Up Search, a local pitch event that will award an entrepreneur in what they call the aging focused business category. Other chapters are holding pitch events in Berlin May 23rd and further in places like Barcelona, Beijing, London, Phoenix and Baltimore. These and others over the summer will lead to the finals in the Aging 2.0 Optimize conference in October 2016.

If you look at some of the emerging businesses in this category, you will see how obviously rooted the product development is in new technologies. For example take Winterlight Labs that has built technology which “in the dead of night…can quickly and accurately detect cognitive impairment from a sample of speech”. Poking around the links to start-up participants in other Aging 2.0 global event sites it becomes abundantly clear that going forward as we age, we are going to be all Apped-up!

Sponsors for this Toronto event include AGEWELL, PointClickCare and Revera – more of an Aging 1.0 company in a hurry. What the connector for all these technology oriented aging focused businesses is that they all pivot off the one core theme of aging and care – home, health, wellness and assisted living devices or services – all positives for opportunities in longevity.

Opportunity knocks.

But what of existing everyday businesses? We are hitting a smarter stride in an era of age aware marketing, though one might argue that some businesses have not reached the intelligence level to adapt their marketing strategies in recognition of undeniable shifts in aging demographics. Some marketing pitches of familiar, traditional product categories have not even reached Aging 1.0 in their efforts.

So many businesses that may not necessarily focus directly on the aging and care theme – are clumsy, stereotyping or patronizing in their attempts to reach a fifty-plus cohort, which itself is really a fifty-year spread. How do you target market better with that in mind? And what do you do if you sell food, clothing, vacations, banking services or deck chairs?

As I’ve recommended countless times, where to start to educate yourself in this endeavour if you are a business, is with the primer in reading, the 2013 – Kim Walker & Dick Stroud’s, Marketing to the Ageing Consumer.

And if you are a small business 1.0 or 2.0 in the Greater Toronto Area, looking to climb out from under the rocks and connect with others in aging focused businesses, join the Sheridan College, Centre for Elder Research Business of Aging Information Exchange Network (going global soon).

My closing Idea. To encourage improvement in age aware marketing excellence, maybe there should be an awards program for the best in Aging 1.0 Reboot companies (as opposed to Start Ups). I’d love to be the ringleader facilitator for that.


Mark Venning