Toward the end of 2015, we hosted our first Modern Aging China event, a workshop in Shanghai on Business and Investment Opportunities in the Aging Industry. Modern Aging China is our newest Modern Aging program. Click here to read about the other Modern Aging programs or visit the Modern Aging website. As part of the Modern Aging China program, we will be conducting surveys on the needs of the elderly, developing a Modern Aging entrepreneurial community, and organizing business and nonprofit accelerators.
Population aging presents a growing business opportunity in China. This area is drawing significant attention from both the public and private sectors. However, the lack of experience and understanding of the multiple needs of the elderly makes it difficult to create strong businesses in the market. Modern Aging China will help bridge this gap. This year, the Modern Aging entrepreneurial community will organize roadshows, expert lectures, industry workshops, and online educational programs. The entrepreneurial community, called “Lechuangshe,” will connect entrepreneurs to investors and leaders in different business areas related to aging. The program will help spark preliminary ideas and encourage participation in the Modern Aging accelerator. Our accelerator, the centerpiece of all of our Modern Aging programs, will assist in the creation of new enterprises and nonprofit organizations in the aging and healthcare industry.
The launch event, which was coorganized by TusStar, attracted more than seventy attendees, including industry entrepreneurs, investors, health practitioners, and students. The event began with four presentations from the core organizers and experts in aging and business. Following the presentations, the speakers participated in a panel discussion and question and answer session with the audience.
Wei Han, general manager for our partner, TusStar Shanghai, kicked off the event by introducing the concept of “happy science” and the H+ Lab program TusStar is establishing. H+ Lab is a happy science development center based on the concept of positive psychology. Positive psychology takes a strengths based approach to helping people live satisfactory lives rather than treating mental illness. H+ Lab divides happiness into three components: health, happy, and harmony. TusStar Shanghai is the incubation center for H+ Lab. TusStar will work with ACCESS Health to explore how innovation in aging and healthcare can bring happiness to people.
Chang Liu, Managing Director for Singapore, Mainland China, and Hong Kong, introduced ACCESS Health and the Modern Aging program. Dr. Liu introduced our Sweden and Singapore programs and explained how they served as models for the Shanghai counterpart.
The next speaker, Xiaoyan Hu, is the founder of a not for profit organization called Vital Life. The organization focuses on healthcare education and dementia care. Dr. Hu spoke about investment opportunities in the elder care industry. She divided the opportunities in aging into four categories: service, products, facility and care, and healthcare education. In her talk, she analyzed each of these areas, using examples in both America and China. Dr. Hu emphasized the importance of understanding the real needs of patients and their caretakers and the importance of discovering the root causes of social problems. At the end of her talk, she posed four questions that entrepreneurs must ask themselves before starting a business: What is my area of interest? What is my professional background? How much money do I have? Where are my target clients?
Toby Overmaat of Zhihui Health Technology gave a talk on design thinking and entrepreneurship in the healthcare industry. Ms. Overmaat walked the attendees through the design process and the design thinking methodology:
Know your user’s need
Refine the value proposition
Develop the business model
In each of the four steps, the designer needs to validate with users and constantly refine the product. She warned against several common mistakes in each of the steps that startup designers should avoid: misunderstanding your real user, talking rather than listening, forgetting that users are not all the same, trying to solve too many needs at once, not testing early enough, lack of match between the value proposition and the user, mistaking the pain point as production, no payer, no channel, not testing the business model, treating your project like an internet startup, thinking your product has to be a mobile application, forgetting to prototype, breaking user trust, and designing without a point.
Following the presentations, Ms. Han, from TusSpar, returned to moderate the panel discussion. In addition to the four speakers, Mr. Chengrui Wan, director of the Aging Development Department of TosSpur Real Estate Consulting Corporation, also joined the discussion. The panel explored the role of nonprofit organizations in China, current developments in the aging industry in China, and challenges in real estate for the elderly, such as the elderly’s lack of financial resources. The panelists discussed the growing opportunities for improvement and innovation in the aging industry, in real estate and in other sectors. The event concluded with a warm question and answer session with the audience.
Modern Aging China plans to hold events on a monthly basis, in both Beijing and Shanghai. The format of the events will range from small group discussions to large forums. Modern Aging China will recruit members into our community of entrepreneurs, cultivate and support innovative business plans, and encourage the entrepreneurship of the younger generation in the aging industry. Stay tuned for upcoming opportunities to join the Modern Aging China community by following our official WeChat account: AccessHealth.