Modern Aging Singapore has been gaining momentum since we first announced the program at InnovFest unBound in late April. Over the past few weeks, we have held an introductory session and several industry talks around aging at enterprise hotbed Plug-In@Blk71 at Ayer Rajah Crescent. To date, more than seventy participants have registered for Modern Aging Singapore. Registration is active and ongoing.
At the introductory session, ACCESS Health Singapore Country Manager Adrienne Mendenhall and NUS Enterprise Deputy Director Kelvin Tan shared the stage to explain the program to close to fifty aspiring entrepreneurs. Some of these aspiring entrepreneurs are university students, while others are seasoned business owners. What they have in common is the desire to build meaningful businesses to help an aging population.
Kelvin started the session by explaining the partnership between NUS Enterprise and ACCESS Health International. The idea for a partnership was sparked at InnovFest 2014, when both organizations attended a session on aging. Staff from both organizations realized that many issues in aging remain untouched, perhaps due to a lack of awareness. Inspired by the success of Modern Aging Sweden, the idea for Modern Aging Singapore was born.
Following Kelvin’s introduction, Adrienne described Modern Aging Singapore in greater detail. Modern Aging is a free educational program designed to inspire entrepreneurs to create new businesses for an aging population. Modern Aging features a blended curriculum of online learning, in person workshops, and industry mentorship to help entrepreneurs develop and pitch their business plans. Participants can compete for seed funding of up to fifty thousand dollars. Modern Aging Singapore is supported by the Ministry of Health. The program was first unveiled at InnovFest unBound 2015 by Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.
A lively question and answer session followed the presentations. Questions came quickly. This is understandable as Modern Aging Singapore is the first aging focused of its kind in Singapore. The enthusiasm was palpable.
Many of the questions concerned the online curriculum. One audience member asked if the aging curriculum would focus more on health or on social sciences. Adrienne explained that Modern Aging Singapore will cover both aspects for a holistic overview on aging. Another audience member asked about the time commitment required for both the curriculum and overall program. The online curriculum will comprise around thirty modules each, with a twenty to forty minute lecture. Participants are not required to go through every single module. However, there will be a core set of modules that all participants will be asked to fulfill before they move on to pitching business ideas.
Others were interested in learning about team formation. With participants of Modern Aging Singapore hailing from diverse backgrounds, team formation is a crucial element to the program. Multidisciplinary teams will be a valuable asset to any future business. Because of its important, team formation will be facilitated in three ways: First, the online learning portal will allow participants to create profiles. Participants can view one another’s profiles to discover like minded individuals. Second, the first in person workshop on August 15 with include facilitated networking. Finally, participants can request more personalized help from us.
The Modern Aging Singapore introduction session concluded with light refreshments and networking. Attendees lingered to chat over coffee and snacks. Many signed up for Modern Aging Singapore on the spot. ACCESS Health and NUS Enterprise will continue working hard in the coming months to spread the word about Modern Aging Singapore and to build the community of aspiring entrepreneurs around aging.