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Call for Entries into What’s Next Innovation Challenge Asks Entrepreneurs to Solve Hearing Impairment for Those Over 50


Entrepreneurs with solutions to address the hearing impairment issues of those age 50+ have until the deadline of March 1 to enter their product or service into the What’s Next Innovation Challenge held during the March 26 What’s Next Longevity Business Summit here.

The competition is hosted by Mary Furlong & Associates and sponsored by AARP Innovation Labs.

Eligible winners from the Atlanta event continue to the national pitch competition in Washington, D.C. later this year also sponsored by AARP Innovation Labs.

The competition asks entrepreneurs and start-up companies to showcase disruptive solutions that drive adoption and usage of hearing aids for the millions over age 50 who have hearing impairment in the U.S. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), one in three Americans between ages 65-74 have hearing loss and half of those over age 75 have difficulty hearing.

The criteria for applying to the What’s Next Innovation Challenge competition is limited to start-up companies with less than $500,000 in annual revenue or who have raised a maximum of less than $5 million in investor funding. Finalists will be chosen and notified by March 12, 2020 and must be available to present on center stage at the What’s Next Longevity Summit held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta on March 26. Click here to apply before the March 1, 2020 by 11:59pm PST deadline.

“We’re excited to sponsor the What’s Next Innovation Challenge again this year and discover how entrepreneurs can help transform the lives of millions of older Americans living with hearing loss,” said Jacqueline M. Baker, director of Innovation Programming for AARP Innovation Labs. “Our mission is to empower people to choose to live how they want as they age. We look forward to the creative solutions of startup companies who share this dream.”

Author, serial entrepreneur and thought leader on aging Mary Furlong produces the visionary What’s Next events that are one of several local competitions around the country leading to the national AARP pitch event for entrepreneurs focused on solutions for people age 50-plus. Competition winners are voted on by event attendees as well as a panel of expert judges similar to American Idol audience engagement competitions.


One startup, Embodied Labs, won the What’s Next Longevity Innovation Challenge and then made it all the way to Washington, D.C. as the national winner in the AARP pitch competition. The What’s Next Longevity Summit has also picked several finalists who have gone on to the national AARP competition over the years including CareLinx and Intuition Robotics.

“Our Innovation Challenge has become one of the premier events where entrepreneurial talent receives a showcase and recognition for their age-tech solutions that can go on to national awareness thanks to our sponsor, AARP Innovation Labs,” says Furlong. “Not only do these startups get recognition by AARP for their solutions but also with our audience of investors, distribution and marketing partners. This competition offers a high-profile forum to be on center stage and we can’t wait to once again see the unique solutions startups will bring to this important aging health issue of hearing loss.”

The What’s Next Business Summit event has gained a reputation for being at the epicenter of thought leaders focused on the $8.3 trillion 50 plus marketplace. Leading investors, businesses, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, authors, analysts, media and marketing experts come together to network and learn from each other and lead sponsors including: AARP Innovation Labs, GreatCall, Ageless Innovation, CareLinx, VitalTech, Medterra CBD, Business of Aging, Susan Davis International, Caregiving Club, iN2L, Hamilton CapTel, Home Instead, myFamilyChannel, SilverRide, Outpatient, Naboso Technology, Nationwide, Portfolia, Embodied Labs, Caremerge, Stay Smart Care and Thrive.

Few seats are left, attendees can register and see the event agenda, full list of speakers and sponsors at:


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