Grand Rapids hosts Aging2.0 pitch competition


Aging2.0 produces events across the world with the aim of improving the lives of people 50 and older. Photo via

Entrepreneurs will be downtown next week pitching their best ideas for new products and services for an aging population.

Aging2.0 in San Francisco, a global organization supporting startups focused on the 50-and-older market, is bringing its #30in30in30 global competition to Michigan on Sept. 10 from 5-7 p.m. at Start Garden in Grand Rapids, at 40 Pearl St. NW, giving six entrepreneurs a chance to compete for $2,500 in prize money and an opportunity to advance to a semi-final round.

Grand Rapids is one of the 30 cities participating in the #30in30in30 international pitch competition highlighting innovative ideas designed to improve the lives of older adults. The competition is an initiative supported by Aging2.0 and includes 30 pitch competitions in 30 cities over 30 days.

Culminating into a virtual semi-final round of pitch competition through Aging2.0, the winning entrepreneurs from each event and city will have a chance to present to the Aging2.0 team and its corporate partners through its Leaders Circle and Alliance.

A select few entrepreneurs will then be invited to exhibit at the Aging2.0 AgeTech Expo on Nov. 19 and 20 in San Francisco.

The event

Six entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to present their product or service catering to older adults in front of a panel of five local judges at Start Garden.

The event will also include a designated time period for senior consumers to ask the entrepreneurs questions about their products or services.

The six entrepreneurs competing at the event will be revealed today.

The Grand Rapids #30in30in30 event is free and open to the public.

Registration is available online at Eventbrite

Local organizers

Laurie Placinski, client leader and interior project designer at Progressive AE, said there is tremendous value and fit to bring this “level of innovation and inspiration to the area,” due to the progressive culture of the Grand Rapids entrepreneurial community.

Lisa Ellens, advocacy coordinator for the Area Agency on Aging of West Michigan, said older adults represent the fastest-growing segment of the population.

By 2030, more than 20 percent of the U.S. population is estimated to be 65 and older, according to Ellens.

“This pitch night is designed to inspire entrepreneurs to consider innovative solutions for aging populations,” Ellens said.

Each of the #30in30in30 pitch events are hosted by volunteer-run Aging2.0 local chapters.

The Grand Rapids event was created due to collaboration among various local people and organizations: Karen Hogan, SeyferthPR; Tim Tuthill, Clark Retirement Community; Placinski; and Ellens; Start Garden; Orion Construction; Elzinga-Volkers; and Holland Home.

“Some of the most progressive thinking underway today is among the older adult and caregiver segments,” Tuthill said. “We’re thrilled to have Grand Rapids participate in this inaugural event.”

Other cities

The #30in30in30 competition includes events in the U.S and across the globe: Baltimore; Seattle; San Francisco; Boston; Tel Aviv; Antwerp; Belgium; London; Breda, Netherlands; Taipei; Tokyo; Prague and more.  

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