Continuing on our themes this year, February highlights the challenge and opportunity presented by the ageing population of Hong Kong.
In society, the ageing population had previously drawn less attention than it deserved. Perhaps because getting old had always been viewed as ‘uninteresting’. The demographic was characterized as needing help, and they were not seen as a market which required their own custom solutions. The word ‘old’ was associated with poor, disadvantaged and in need. However, in recent years, ageing as experienced a renaissance, now being communicated as the silver generation, the silver market, active ageing or the young olds.
At the Good Lab, we have seen the interest of this topic grow louder and louder, with many social entrepreneurs creating solutions for the part of the demographic in Hong Kong.
It’s something that we’ve been very aware of, since one of our directors, Patrick Cheung has been closely involved in this space for a number of years. Having worked previously setting up Dialogue Experience, he devotes his time on providing solutions for the ageing population in Hong Kong. At the end of last year, he wrote this response to the current policies from the elderly commission of Hong Kong, stating the drastic need to look for more innovative solutions for service provision for the elderly. A short insightful read on the current situation.
Active Ageing has been the main topic in our flagship Trisector Leaders of Tomorrow learning program, where experienced civil servants, NGO staff and business persons come together to learn about social innovation. During these two days, we invited participants to dialogue with a variety of entrepreneurs in this space, including the Jade Club, Second Box, Longevity Design House, Happy Retired, Easycare and HohoLife . While they all served different needs, there was also one thing that they all had in common, which was they all had family members that were in this life stage. It was through their own experiences supporting their family through this that these companies were created. We look forward to more innovative companies and ideas sprout out from life’s journeys, just as it had with these entrepreneurs.
There are also many other initiatives taking place to encourage people to ‘age well.’ The Jade Club, in collaboration with PolyU’s Institute of Active Ageing, is promoting their Passion Awards, which will see up to 10 teams rewarded with $10,000 to start something positive for the community. More information can be found here.
Another one to be on the lookout is Social Impact Fellow’s Bounce Back program, which partners young old mentors with young students. The relationship is unique as the mentorship isn’t one way, they both have something to teach each other. The Bounce Back program was recently on TVB and if you’re interested in taking part, you can reach them via their FB page.
Like it or not, just like the rest of the developed world, Hong Kong is getting older. This presents an issue that has never been faced before in our societies. How we view it is up to us. Will it be a social issue ‘to solve’, or a business opportunity to take advantage of?
From what has been sprouting up over the past year, we are sure that even more initiatives and businesses will come up in 2017 to provide solutions to the issue of active ageing.
If you’re interested in the active ageing as a social issue or business opportunity, do get in touch with us, and see how we can help you connect to the right people in the field to help take your ideas to that next step!