AGE-WELL is thrilled to congratulate the 2023 recipients of the AGE-WELL Emerging Entrepreneur Award. This year’s award winners, Bronwyn Bridges, Co-Founder and CEO of PragmaClin, and Lianna Genovese, Founder and CEO of ImaginAble Solutions, were announced on October 25 at the AGE-WELL Annual Conference during AgeTech Innovation Week.
The AGE-WELL Emerging Entrepreneur Award is designed to give new entrepreneurs the financial resources, mentorship and training they need to focus on making their ideas viable and rapidly deployable in service to older adults and caregivers. The award helps support the development of emerging entrepreneurs to create and grow an innovative startup with potential social and economic impact in Canada, while addressing one of AGE-WELL’s 8 Challenge Areas. The 2023 Emerging Entrepreneur Award is generously supported by the Yuen Family Foundation.
As Co-Founder and CEO of PragmaClin, a Canadian startup that has created a digital assessment tool for monitoring and rating the severity of a broad spectrum of Parkinson’s disease symptoms, Bridges’ ultimate goal is for people living with Parkinson’s to get help faster with more accurate results. She and PragmaClin co-founder, Gord Genge, have developed the PRIMS system, which monitors motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s.
“Our operation in the health care sector primarily aims to elevate the life quality of those living with neurological conditions, particularly Parkinson’s disease,” said Bridges. “Our core mission revolves around empowering patients to effectively monitor their condition. PragmaClin is set to contribute significantly to Parkinson’s disease management, bolstered by support and recognition from awards and competitions like the AGE-WELL Emerging Entrepreneur Award.”
Bridges says she and the team are incredibly grateful for AGE-WELL’s support as PragmaClin prepares to complete validation trials and venture into the United States market. “Receiving the Emerging Entrepreneur Award from AGE-WELL has been a monumental moment for us. It’s not just about the financial support; it’s the validation and increased visibility that are invaluable for a healthtech company like ours that requires support and backing from organizations in the space. This recognition is helping us expand our reach and impact, both in terms of business growth and our heartfelt mission to improve the lives of people with Parkinson’s disease and improve clinical efficiency of neurologists.”
Much like Bridges’ startup, Genovese’s company, ImaginAble Solutions, was created out of a desire to help others. ImaginAble Solutions is creating assistive technology to improve quality of life for people living with disabilities. Through ImaginAble Solutions, Genovese has been able to develop her award-winning technology, Guided Hands™; a mechanical device designed to help people with limited hand mobility to write, paint, draw, and access technology.
“I started introducing Guided Hands to people with disabilities in our community, and as soon as I heard the words ‘Mom, I want one’ from a little girl with cerebral palsy, I knew I had to bring this project to the world,” said Genovese. Today, Guided Hands is available across North America for anyone living with limited hand mobility, including those with arthritis, ALS, Huntington’s disease and recovering from spinal cord injuries and stroke.
Genovese, who was recently named in Forbes 30 Under 30 Local Toronto list for her and her team’s impact in the accessibility sector, says she is grateful for the continued support of AGE-WELL and the impact its Emerging Entrepreneur Award will have on getting her technology into people’s hands.
“I’m blown away by the support that AGE-WELL has provided me over the last four years of my journey, and now to be recognized as an emerging entrepreneur is incredible,” said Genovese. “AGE-WELL has been instrumental in our product development and they continue to support us, and now to be an emerging entrepreneur and have another source of funding is going to help us get Guided Hands into the hands of so many people on a global scale and improve accessibility across the world.”
The AGE-WELL Emerging Entrepreneur Award is a one-year $50,000 salary award. Recipients are matched to key mentors who help support the funded entrepreneur in building or growing their business. They are also given access to AGE-WELL member benefits and specialized services from AGE-WELL partners and Core Facilities, such as legal guidance, commercialization and knowledge mobilization support, access to prototyping labs, and entrepreneurship training.
“AGE-WELL launched the Emerging Entrepreneur Awards in 2018 to bridge a significant gap in the innovation funding landscape, and to make sure that young entrepreneurs were empowered and supported to get their innovative solutions to those that need them,” said Dr. Alex Mihailidis, Scientific Director and CEO of AGE-WELL, Canada’s technology and aging network. “We are excited to work with this year’s recipients, and to provide our network’s expertise and resources, to help them meet their entrepreneurship goals and scale up Canada’s growing AgeTech sector.”
AGE-WELL has funded nine entrepreneurs through the program between 2018 and 2023. The support of the Yuen Family Foundation has allowed AGE-WELL to increase the financial and in-kind support offered to recipients, as well as increase the number of yearly award recipients.
“We are honoured to support emerging entrepreneurs through our partnership with AGE-WELL and to foster innovative startups in technology and aging,” said Yuen Family Foundation Co-Founder, Ivan Yuen. “The Yuen Family Foundation is committed to positive impact in this vital sector in Canada. We believe in the transformative power of innovation, and through this initiative, we aim to contribute to the well-being of our aging population.”
AGE-WELL is committed to investing in innovators of tomorrow, and offers a variety of awards open to everyone from college and CEGEP students to postdoctoral fellows, early career researchers and recently graduated entrepreneurs. To learn more, visit: https://agewell-nce.ca/awards-scholarships
To learn more about PragmaClin, visit: www.pragmaclin.com
To learn more about ImaginAble Solutions, visit: https://www.imaginablesolutions.com/