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Breakthrough Cities Workshop: Business Model Innovation for Urban Challenges - Newcastle

Event details
The specific focus of this event will be healthy ageing.

A one-day workshop bringing together decision-makers from across the North East along with innovative SMEs. The purpose is to develop new business and engagement models to solve complex urban challenges. The specific focus of this event will be healthy ageing.

Background: By 2040, one in 8 people in the UK will be aged over 75 – an increase from one in 12 today. As the population ages, new business models and cross-sector partnerships are needed to deliver services and products that make healthy ageing a reality for all.

This workshop is about co-creating those new business and engagement models – particularly relevant in light of the fact that healthy ageing is one of the “grand challenges” that the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will focus on.

The workshop is for anyone developing products and services for healthy ageing, or working in fields where technologies and ideas could be cross-applied. It’s open to innovators from anywhere in the UK.

With assets like the National Innovation Centre for Ageing at Newcastle University already in place, the North East is well positioned to play a big role in addressing the healthy ageing challenge. This event will explore how that regional ecosystem can be strengthened.

Why ageing and why business models? An ageing population brings with it a range of social and economic issues that call for innovation across private and public sectors. These include:

  • Tackling social isolation, creating inclusive communities and bridging generational gaps.
  • Enabling people to live healthy, active and independent lives for longer.
  • Equipping older people to be part of the innovation economy and to engage with new technologies.

At the same time, older people represent a huge market for new products and services. In the UK, over 50s hold almost 70% of household wealth. Across the EU, over 65s have a spending capacity of €3 trillion.

To address these social challenges and capitalise on market opportunities, new business models that span public and private sector will be key.

Who’s the workshop for?

  • Innovators across all sectors with an idea that can help create a healthier, happier, more prosperous society in the context of an ageing population.
  • Decision-makers from relevant local authorities and service providers across the North East.
  • Academics and researchers with relevant expertise.

Why attend?

  • An opportunity to network with decision-makers and innovators.
  • A chance to be part of developing new solutions to an urgent challenge.
  • Learn more about the £725m Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and healthy ageing as one of the Fund’s focus areas, as well as the new £20m GovTech Catalyst Fund designed to boost innovative solutions to public sector delivery challenges, and what it means for both UK SMEs and Local Authorities alike.
  • Exposure to best-in-class research on and examples of business model innovation to solve urban challenges.
  • A rare opportunity to take time out from the day-to-day to reflect on your own approach to leadership, innovation and value creation.

Who’s behind this event? This workshop is the second in a series of three being run by Volans, a UK-based think tank and agency for transformational change, in partnership with Innovate UK, KTN and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership. The workshop will be led by John Elkington, a renowned thought leader and writer on sustainable business, along with others from the team at Volans.

Registration: Please note that places are restricted and therefore interested parties are requested to register their interest here. You will be notified on or before Friday 5th January if a place has been made available to you.

For more information, please contact Richard Roberts (

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