Market Trend
Social Entrepreneur

Two Side of Aging Society with Startups : Active Seniors & Elder-focused Ventures

Asia Tomorrow Original
April 18, 2024

Longevity and Aging of Humanity 

Globally, aging is underway. According to a UN report, the global population's average age is progressively rising. The primary reasons are declining birth rates and advances in medical technology, which extend life expectancy.

As a result, aging is bringing two impacts to the venture business ecosystem: the trend of 'active seniors' who venture into entrepreneurship after their 50s, and the emergence of startups targeting the senior market.

The link between active seniors and entrepreneurship

Many people assume that after their 50s, they will retire and lead a quiet, stable life in their later years.

However, some of them still possess a desire and passion for success and victory, believing they are too young to retire. Referred to as 'active seniors', these individuals are as passionate about life as other generations, and sometimes even more so.

Let's explore examples of senior entrepreneurs who have successfully launched businesses in their 60s and beyond, opening a true second act in their lives.

Alexandra Dunhill founded Lady A, a women-centric health company, at the age of 60.

(Source : Lady A)

Lady A produces cannabidiol (CBD) based products tailored for women. Cannabidiol oil is known to help stabilize hormones and provide mental calmness for all types of women, including athletic women, less active senior women, and those with anxiety issues. It is also recognized for its benefits during menstruation and menopause.

Alexandra Dunhill focused on female consumers, deciding to create products that maximize the health benefits of CBD. After continuous research and development, she successfully developed products that optimize the therapeutic benefits of CBD. This approach not only meets the specific needs of women but also capitalizes on the growing market for wellness products among female demographics.

(Source : Lady A)

From women’s health to alternative for leather

Since the 1990s, Carmen Hijosa had been searching for an eco-friendly alternative to leather. At the age of 60, in 2013, she founded Ananas Anam

Inspired by the plant fibers used in traditional weaving, such as those found in the Barong Tagalog garments, Carmen developed a new material called Piñatex. Piñatex is made from the fibers of pineapple leaves, which are a byproduct of the pineapple harvest. 

This innovative material is sustainable and has become a popular alternative to leather in the fashion and upholstery industries, contributing to the global movement towards more sustainable production practices.

(Source : Ananas Anam)

Ananas Anam, founded by Carmen Hijosa, was established after she completed her PhD at the Royal College of Art and led the business through an innovation incubator program. 

To date, the company has successfully raised £3.05 million through eight funding rounds and received grants totaling £276,000. 

Carmen Hijosa has also been recognized for her creativity and innovation, leading to her involvement in various seminars and lectures, including a TED Talk. Her efforts highlight not only the commercial viability of sustainable materials like Piñatex but also the growing importance of eco-friendly innovations in global industries.


Aging in Asian Countries and the Challenges for Startups

On one hand, there is a growing trend of startups facing new challenges in preparation for an aging society

Particularly in Asia, Japan and South Korea are prime examples of countries that have entered a super-aging society. For instance, as of 2024, the population aged 65 and above in South Korea accounts for about 20% of the total population. 

Following this trend, entrepreneurs are emerging who find business opportunities in creating new services and products that solve the problems experienced by seniors.

(Source : Onggoing)

NaeYiLuLi (Ongoing) is a startup that specializes in subscription-based delivery services, leveraging senior workforce

Founded in November 2021 by CEO Jeong Hyun-kang, the company was established to address the issue of senior employment, primarily supporting order and delivery services in the food and dining sectors, operating in an O2O (Online to Offline) service model. 

Led by CEO Jeong Hyun-kang, NaeYiLuLi was founded in November 2021 and has since attracted a total investment of 1.18 billion KRW. 

(CEO of NaeYiLuLi, Source : Onggoing)

The company offers a distinctive delivery service utilizing senior workforce, providing high satisfaction to businesses and innovative logistics solutions, creating new value in the logistics and delivery sectors.

In an interview with underdogs, CEO Jeong Hyun-kang shared the future direction for NaeYiLuLi.

"To create a world where seniors are not just seeking refuge, but where people welcome them." 

This vision highlights NaeYiLuLi's commitment to fostering a more inclusive society where the elderly are actively valued and integrated.

*underdogs is the largest entrepreneurship education company in South Korea, which has fostered over 16,000 entrepreneurs. It is also an operator of Asia Tomorrow.

(Source : For Parents)

For Parents is a startup offering a premium specialized concierge service for elderly care. Founded with the vision of creating a world where no senior feels lonely, 'For Parents' aims to help more elderly individuals enjoy their later years in health and fulfillment.

The services at For Parents are tailored to each senior's health status and preferences, featuring customized plans where a 'Buddy' accompanies them

Buddies are specially trained seniors who provide companionship and assistance, enhancing the overall experience for the elderly clients. This model not only improves the quality of life for seniors but also provides meaningful employment opportunities for other seniors, fostering a supportive and engaging community.

(CEO of For Parents, Credit : For Parents)

In response to a question from underdogs about the ultimate goal of For Parents, CEO Jang Jun-pyo answered,

"I hope that our grandparents, including mine, as well as our parents who will someday be elderly, can always live joyfully without losing the meaning of life just because they have aged.”
“This year, the Korean government has allocated a budget for senior travel, and there is also news about the International Senior Leisure Forum being held. I believe these developments are a starting point for improving the lives of seniors who have previously felt lonely.”
"I hope that at that point, our service with travel helpers will be fully realized, providing enjoyable leisure and care for the elderly. This era is often referred to as 'elderly care by the elderly.' I wish For Parents to be empathetic towards the guilty conscience of our parents' generation, who often feel they must put their aging parents in the background."

(Source : unsplash)

The aging society is evolving in two directions: seniors becoming entrepreneurs themselves, and entrepreneurs emerging to solve the problems of the senior market. 

This trend can lead to not only business opportunities but also the creation of social value. It enhances the quality of life for the elderly while contributing to new job creation. Such social ventures, which aim for social value while also targeting economic benefits, can play a crucial role in solving problems faced by modern society.

Therefore, sustained interest and policy support for these entrepreneurs are essential for the sustainable development of an aging society. This can be achieved through intergenerational cooperation and collective effort, representing a significant opportunity to bring positive change to future societies.

Written by underdogs


*Read the full stories of Asia market trend with visions of Asia startup founders and entrepreneurs

Investing in Korean SME and Local Brands : What is the Blueprint of NEWKIDS Investment?

Japan Startup Trends 2024: Here's Why Global Companies Should Expand in the Japanese Market

Expanding to Southeast Asia : 3 Reasons why you fails in SEA market

Understanding Singapore's startup ecosystem : What makes SG the 'Silicon Valley' of Asia?


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