Columbia Student Startup Slated to Shape Future of Elderly Caregiving
Columbia Business School recently highlighted I-Care, a new student startup focused on elderly caregiving that took first place at the most recent Global Public Policy Network Conference in Paris; “an alliance of seven global public-policy schools that provides a platform for institutional partnership, research collaboration and student exchange.”
Developed at the Innovation and Entrepreneurship @ Columbia program, which takes a “data-driven approach to solving UN sustainable development goals,” I-Care uses “medical data to match disabled senior citizens with local professional caregivers who have the corresponding experience and training.” I-Care also “provides online training courses for both professional caregivers as well as family members who are stepping into a caregiving role for loved ones. “
Founded by Xinwei Gao ’17SIPA, along with Fang Liu ’17 SIPA, Seungwook Kim ’17 SIPA, Sihan Zhang ’17 SIPA and Yue Wang ’17 PH, Gao explains that the inspiration for I-Care arose from her grandmother, an Alzheimer’s sufferer who passed away in a Beijing nursing home “without family around her.”
I-Care has its sights set on the Chinese market, which is “only expected to grow as people live longer and the demographic skews older due to the nation’s former one-child policy.” Reports from the China Research Centre on Aging indicate that there are currently over 200 million elderly Chinese people. Gao says, “Some reports estimate that figure will swell to 300 million by 2025—and 40 million of them are disabled.” The stats correspond to global population figures as well.
Of I-Care, IE @ Columbia co-director Professor Cliff Schorer says, “We feel very strongly that [Gao] has an idea that is very viable. She’s really thought through a market that I think has real potential. I have a feeling the business can grow very, very quickly and be very, very successful.”