envisAGE will help innovation for seniors
February 1, 2023
MONTREAL – MEDTEQ+ and AGE-WELL are officially unveiling envisAGE, a large-scale pan-Canadian initiative whose mission is to catalyze Canada’s AgeTech ecosystem by supporting innovators to grow and scale their enterprises and deliver technology solutions that help older Canadians maintain a better quality of life, longer.
The federal government announced in December 2022 that it is investing $47 million through its Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) to support the envisAGE network, co-led by MEDTEQ+ and AGE-WELL.
“Not only will envisAGE propel Canadian startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) into the growing national and international AgeTech markets in support of quality aging, but it will also bring concrete solutions to communities, Canadian older adults and caregivers,” said Diane Côté (pictured), CEO of MEDTEQ+.
“As the primary recipient of the funds, MEDTEQ+ is pleased to join forces with AGE-WELL on this initiative, bringing together an ecosystem of innovators, researchers, aging communities, health organizations, and investors to collaborate and ensure that the solutions meet the needs of the aging market. Moreover, this initiative will create high-quality jobs, generate economic benefits, and bolster Canadian leadership in AgeTech,” added Ms. Côté.
“By supporting innovative tech startups and SMEs that have later-stage products, envisAGE will help companies get their AgeTech products more quickly into people’s hands – and that’s important,” said Dr. Alex Mihailidis, scientific director and CEO of AGE-WELL. “This initiative will speed the adoption of technologies designed to improve quality of life for older adults and caregivers. We are also proud of the way Canada’s AgeTech researchers have established and powered the innovation pipeline in this space and AGE-WELL looks forward to being able to continue to support their contributions to this ecosystem.”
envisAGE will provide resources and supports to help companies validate and demonstrate their technologies. Through envisAGE, enterprises will be able to collaborate closely with communities, retirement homes, long-term care homes and private homes, where they can demonstrate and implement their products while creating a pathway to scaling their venture.
“So often, the challenge for companies is to get beyond pilot studies and actually implement their solutions in real-world environments,” said Ms. Côté. “envisAGE will facilitate the validation and demonstration of technologies in real-world settings, so that products can get to market faster and be widely deployed.”
By 2035, Canada is expected to be a “super-aged” country with one in four Canadians older than 65 years of age. “The aging population is one of the greatest achievements but also one of the biggest challenges of this century. Technology can empower older adults to lead healthy, independent, and engaged lives while supporting their caregivers,” said Dr. Mihailidis. “We are excited to partner with MEDTEQ+, a driving force in medical technology innovation, to deliver this initiative that will advance the commercialization of, and to-market strategies for, AgeTech products.”
Older adults are receptive to technology, said Dr. Mihailidis. A poll conducted for AGE-WELL in 2020 found that more than 8 in 10 Canadians aged 65 and older believe that technological advances can help older adults stay safe, in their own homes longer, and independent. And 7 in 10 agree that technological advancements can help older adults stay active and manage their health better as they age and can reduce social isolation.
“We also know there is a digital divide between the technology haves and have-nots,” said Dr. Mihailidis. “envisAGE will support technologies that are accessible, affordable, and user-friendly.”
The envisAGE network will include:
- Validation of technologies and evaluation of outcomes at Beachheads – advanced testing centres.
- Demonstration and implementation of solutions through Community Labs in settings such as retirement homes, long-term care homes, NORCs (Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities) private homes and community-based organizations. Many of these partners have already allocated funds and are ready to start within the year.
- Supports and best practices provided through 5 Innovation Hubs
- Up to 100 SMEs scaled through 100 projects and an engaged investor network.
The meaningful involvement of older adults and caregivers and a wide range of stakeholders from across Canada will be crucial to the success of envisAGE. AGE-WELL’s Older Adult and Caregiver Advisory Committee will be engaged in shaping and guiding this involvement.
“As an older Canadian who works and lives independently, I am excited to see this investment in Canadian-made innovations designed to enhance quality aging,” said Sherry Baker, co-chair of AGE-WELL’s Older Adult and Caregiver Advisory Committee. “Older Canadians and their caregivers will benefit from state-of-the-art solutions, while Canadian companies are established as AgeTech leaders with products that can benefit aging populations everywhere.”
envisAGE will be issuing an open call for proposals for solutions by the end of Spring 2023.
To join envisAGE and learn more, visit www.envis-age.ca.
envisAGE partners MEDTEQ+, a leader in accelerating innovation and entrepreneurship in the Canadian MedTech industry, with AGE-WELL, Canada’s leader in AgeTech research and technology-based solutions. envisAGE is a large-scale pan-Canadian initiative that brings stakeholders together to provide resources and supports to startups and small and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs) to validate and demonstrate technologies that address the challenges of aging and build Canadian leadership in the AgeTech market. envisAGE is funded through the Government of Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund, with additional contributions from industry, non-profits, and other partners.
The mission of the Pan-Canadian Consortium for Industrial Research and Innovation in Medical Technologies (MEDTEQ+) is to accelerate the development of innovative technological solutions to improve patients’ health status and quality of life. MEDTEQ+ supports the validation of these technologies, their integration into the healthcare network, and their local and international outreach by bringing together the complementary skills of industrial and institutional partners and healthcare providers. MEDTEQ+ receives financial support from the Government of Quebec, the Government of Canada (through the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) program), the private sector, and complementary partners to foster research-industry relationships. For more information, visit https://www.medteq.ca/en/
AGE-WELL 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 the 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 https://agewell-nce.ca/