AGE-WELL’s 2022 Emerging Entrepreneur recipients
August 17, 2022
TORONTO – The 2022 recipients of AGE-WELL’s Emerging Entrepreneur Award are Liam Maaskant (pictured on left), co-developer of a walker with an elevating seat to give older adults greater independence at home, and Anika Munn (pictured on right), co-creator of a smart monitoring system to help older adults feel safer and more comfortable in various living settings.
The AGE-WELL Emerging Entrepreneur Award supports the development of emerging entrepreneurs to create and grow an innovative startup with potential social and economic impact in Canada. The innovation must address one of AGE-WELL’s 8 Challenge Areas and have potential to make a positive real-world impact in the lives of older adults and caregivers.
The award is designed to give a new entrepreneur the financial resources, mentorship and training as they focus on making their ideas viable and rapidly deployable in service to older adults and caregivers. The Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) has provided a cash top-up of $5,000 for each recipient, bringing the total value of the salary award to $30,000 for each of the awardees.
Liam Maaskant recently graduated from Dalhousie University where he received his degree in mechanical engineering. As co-founder of Axtion Independence Mobility Inc., he is developing a solution that expands the functionality of the rollator walker to include a motorized seat that moves up and down. This device aims to decrease older adults’ risk of falls while they engage in everyday tasks like reaching a lower drawer in the kitchen, transferring to the sofa or gardening in the flower beds.
“We designed our solution to help older adults live longer, more dignified lives at home by having a tool to stay active and engaged in the activities they love to do,” said Maaskant. “As a new graduate, I could not be more honoured and happier to receive this award. This will allow me to work full time on getting our device to people who need it.”
Anika Munn is completing her master’s degree in public health at the University of Saskatchewan. She is a co-founder of LivingSafe, a startup developing a smart monitoring system designed to keep older adults safer by providing their caregivers with physical status data – such as vital signs – and alerts, for instance if a loved one wanders at night.
“I am honoured to receive this award and thrilled for the opportunity to collaborate within AGE-WELL’s national network, which will help our general growth,” said Munn. “Our solution is aimed at taking away numerous health and safety fears so older adults can live life more comfortably and, in some cases, stay in their homes longer.”
“Empowering, mentoring and supporting emerging entrepreneurs is part of AGE-WELL’s commitment to drive the delivery of technology-based products that benefit older adults and their caregivers, and generate economic returns for Canadians,” said Dr. Alex Mihailidis, scientific director and CEO of AGE-WELL, Canada’s technology and aging network.
“Congratulations to this year’s exceptional recipients who exemplify the passion to make a difference and the innovative spirit in Canada’s growing AgeTech sector. We welcome these emerging entrepreneurs to our network with all its expertise and resources, and are pleased to begin working in partnership with them to get their innovations into as many hands as possible, ensuring a real-world impact for Canadians.”
“CABHI’s overarching mission is to advance innovative solutions to help older adults live their best possible lives. This year’s AGE-WELL Emerging Entrepreneurs epitomize that mission, providing critical solutions to help people maintain their independence, and age well at home,” said Dr. Allison Sekuler, president & chief scientist, CABHI.
“When companies like these succeed, older adults will thrive. So, in addition to our cash contribution, award recipients will receive access to CABHI’s vast array of innovation services and our national and international network of scientific officers and validation, investment, and distribution partners, all supporting these creative entrepreneurs to significantly accelerate the spread, scale, and success of their companies.”
AGE-WELL NCE Inc. is Canada’s Technology and Aging Network. The pan-Canadian network brings together researchers, older adults, caregivers, partner organizations and future leaders to accelerate the delivery of technology-based solutions that make a meaningful difference in the lives of Canadians. AGE-WELL researchers are producing technologies, services, policies and practices that improve quality of life for older adults and caregivers, and generate social and economic benefits for Canada. AGE-WELL is funded through the federal Networks of Centres of Excellence program. For more information, visit www.agewell-nce.ca.