Solution Overview

Solution Name:

Caregiver workforce training & education

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One-line solution summary:

Providing caregiver training and education to create an up-skilled workforce, improve quality of life for seniors and lower healthcare costs

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Pitch your solution.

We are focused on professionalizing the vocation of caregiving based on the principles of person-centered care.  We work with current caregivers, or those seeking to enter the field, to provide the comprehensive knowledge needed to help older adults age with dignity.  Through our structured learning programs, students can become certified as a caregiver and learn how and when to integrated into the broader care team including healthcare professionals.  Successfully matriculating students can then seek employment in country or look elsewhere.  We also train and educate family members seeking to provide better care for their loved ones.

Our curriculum democratizes advancements made in the world’s leading medical institutions and universities and provides it to those people who need it the most – caregivers – to perform their daily work with the greatest impact.  By doing so, we are able to improve care while lowering overall cost to the healthcare system.

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What specific problem are you solving?

In today’s world of unprecedented longevity, living better as we live longer has become a dominant theme.  With one billion people projected to be 60 years or older this year, and two billion by 2050, no government or healthcare system will be able to afford the growing costs of caring for an even older population unless we change the paradigm.

In many countries, the older generation cares for the young children, allowing both parents to work and raise the economic viability of the extended family unit.  When the health of the elderly is compromised, the negative impact can extend to the broader family. Women comprise the majority of unpaid family caregiver and paid care workers.

Policymakers and healthcare officials have cited the need to take effective steps for ensuring various necessary services for the poor, middle-class and affluent ageing population in urban and rural settings.  

The World Health Organization highlights the need to empower a new vocation of caregivers to help address the issues of successful ageing.  However, very few structured, accessible learning programs exists today in the world capable of engaging people who desire to join one of the fastest growing areas in healthcare in the 21st century.

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What is your solution?

The COVID 19 epidemic has highlighted the importance and need for care of the elderly.  We have worked with nursing and care experts around the world to develop structured on-line education through which students who complete the course work and successfully pass the tests to gain the education and insights needed to become caregivers.  Each vocational education program is comprised of courses in specific areas which  consists of modules which focus on key domains and are themselves devolved into lessons.  The lessons focus on individual topics and last five-15 minutes each.

In addition to three free preparatory courses (MOOCs) we have four different programs that result in certification levels (I-IV) of increasing complexity and sophistication.  Level I teaches the fundamentals of caregiving for older adults based on the principle of person-centered care.   Levels II & III provide in-depth insights into activities for daily life (ADL) and age-related conditions (ARC).  Level IV covers the most challenging cases including diminished mental capacity and early dementia.  The information contained in the learning modules is presented at a level that engages people with little formal education and does not require a university degree.  All of our courses will be available on-line and accredited.


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Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

Our proposal meets the needs of the population in not only building up a supply of credentialled caregivers but also it promotes a new career opportunity capable of addressing national, regional and international workforce shortages. We serve the broader community seeking to provide improved care to older adults seeking to age with dignity.

Because the role of caregiving falls predominantly on women in most the world, by professionalizing the vocation of caregiving we will provide jobs with opportunity for advancement for woman who participate and seek to progress their education and qualifications and with improved wages.    

We partner with government organizations, vocational training institutions and non-profit and for-profit entities that provide in-home person-centered care.  For all of these groups we seek to upskill people who are already working as caregivers or who are seeking to enter the vocation of caregiving.  We also serve families seeking to gain the competencies and education needed to provide more informed care to their ageing family members. We also work with government finance ministries, insurers and payers who are seeking to provide extended care that results in improved quality of life and well-being at a lower cost.

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Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Enable small and new businesses, especially in untapped communities, to prosper and create good jobs through access to capital, networks, and technology
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Explain how the problem, your solution, and your solution’s target population relate to the Challenge and your selected dimension.

The vocation of caregiving is emerging as a significant jobs growth driver worldwide for the 21st century.  Largely a cottage industry in many untapped communities,  small and new business that are seeking to enter this space lack the training and education curriculum  tailored to the specific needs of the market and aligned with best practices from around the world.   Though our program and digital platform we have joined the capital, networks, and technology need to deliver on this promise and create 21st century jobs in a fast growing vocation for people seeking to up-skill around the world.

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In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Geneva, Switzerland
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What is your solution’s stage of development?

Pilot: An organization deploying a tested product, service, or business model in at least one community
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Who is the primary delegate for your solution?

Peter Nicholson, Co-Founder and CEO

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More About Your Solution

If you have additional video content that explains your solution, provide a YouTube or Vimeo link here:

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Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new application of an existing technology
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Describe what makes your solution innovative.

The recent COVID 19 pandemic has shown the vulnerability of the ageing population.  We have spent 18 months working with a global group of nurses having deep insights into geriatric care to create the world's most robust curriculum for training and educating care workers -those who care for the elderly.  We are seeking to democratize the insights generated in medical centers and universities and provide them in an engaging and easy to understand educational platform that allows users to up-skill and deliver improved care in the home or at assisted living facilities. This is an evergreen set of materials we are constantly updating while continuing to add others in response to the need to deliver person-centered care.

The program delivery system is flexible and can easily be adapted for specific countries.  It is planned to focus initially in developing countries that are lacking professional education and training for caregivers and will be internationally accredited, making it transferable for graduates who migrate.

We have put in place a robust quality management system and work with educators having deep experience in delivering on-line healthcare content to ensure we are constantly incorporating best practices in our educational platform.  The learning management system we have selected allows us to engage with student and issue certificates of completion after successful matriculation.

We integrate the best assisted-living technologies in our program to ensure that people who will use them, who are most-often less educated, understand how to use and integrate them in to their care protocols.






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Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

We are a technology enabled solution.  Our solutions uses a digital learning management system and issues blockchain enabled certifications to preserve course records which can be important in many of the communities we have engaged with thus far.  Thus we use these technologies to help people up-skill and gain the knowledge, skills and education they need to enter into the field of caregiving.

We are able to select and include assistive-living technologies and teach care workers how to incorporate them their daily work routines.  These can be based AI, machine learning, IOT or any other value added technology that enhances and/or extends and improves the quality care.

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Provide evidence that this technology works.

There are many learning management systems functioning in the world today and the use of the LMS we have selected allows us to leverage our insights into caregiving and extend our reach globally.

We have been in discussion with in India, Malaysia and Bangladesh and are starting to have discussions in China and Japan.  Their interest provides the best evidence of the importance and relevance of what we are seeking to accomplish.

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Behavioral Technology
  • Blockchain
  • Internet of Things
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What is your theory of change?

Students will complete the on-line course work and then the hands-on practical training to gain the education and skills needed to become competent and fully-functioning caregivers. They will also get exposure to the newest advancements in connective technologies so they understand how to incorporate them into their daily work routines.  This is critical as most of this workforce is under-educated and sometimes intimidated by technology.

In the short term, students will learn about issues that older adults can face, the impact these have on their health and wellbeing, how to intervene when the student encounters them and when to contact a healthcare professional if their intervention does not provide the needed outcome.  This virtuous circle will be key in expanding the broader care network in a way that lowers healthcare costs while at the same time delivering best-in-class care that helps older adults to age with dignity and live fulfilling lives .

After successful completion, graduates will be awarded a certificate as a qualified caregiver.  At the same time, they will gain exposure to potential employers while also being able to access micro-finance programs to enable them to finance and setup their own caregiving business.

Some student will take this certificate and seek to create a business locally.  Others will seek to immigrate where better paying job opportunities may exist. in the mid-term, students may seek to become instructors or to advance their training and education though higher levels of proficiency. 

Longer term, students may leverage this course work and its equivalency to use it as a bridge to complete a college degree or continue their medical training too become a registered nurse.  Thus by professionalizing the overlooked and under-appreciated vocation of caregiving we are able to provide a path to those seeking to elevate their earning potential and perform work with meaning that has the ability to become a long-lasting career with progressive levels of achievement and the benefits that go with them.


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Select the key characteristics of your target population.

  • Women & Girls
  • Elderly
  • Rural
  • Peri-Urban
  • Urban
  • Poor
  • Low-Income
  • Middle-Income
  • Refugees & Internally Displaced Persons
  • Minorities & Previously Excluded Populations
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Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 3. Good Health and Well-Being
  • 4. Quality Education
  • 5. Gender Equality
  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 10. Reduced Inequalities
  • 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • New Zealand
  • Switzerland
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In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Malaysia
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How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?

We are in discussions with groups seeking to train caregivers in India, Malaysia and Bangladesh.  They are interested in using our platform to training a new workforce, one much needed in the 21st century with longevity being our new reality.  We could have more than 2000 people on the system within three months of executing any one of these contracts.  

After initiating work in India, Malaysia and Bangladesh, we will expand in Japan and China.  We will also begin to engage across Europe.

Version 1 of the platform can support multiple languages and up to 25,000 users a month and version 2 would support 250,000 users a month.  Our business model focused on institutional engagement to build platform-load but we also expect to get interest from individuals and family members. Assuming we have traction with these groups, we would expect to serve 10 organizations and 5,000 – 10,000 caregivers in year one.  By year five, we project to have close to 500,000 people on the platform.

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What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?

In the first year, we will finish and launch our platform in several targeted geographies working with local partners.  Our goal is to validate the platform, gain experience working in multiple languages, and understand how to implement successfully in resource rich and resource poor environments.  Its a global opportunity and we will progressively expand the scope of our activities to address it. 

We are beginning in Asia and then plan to expand into Europe and finally North America as we have deep networks in those geographies.  Within the next five years, we expect to have created several centers-of-excellence (COEs) where we can learn and evolve best practices and then use this to revise our on-line education content and field training materials.  At the COEs, we will be able to effectively run “train-the-trainer”programs to support a hub and spoke approach that facilitates out-reach from urban to suburban and event rural settings.  

Our vision is to define a new global standard for education and training people who provide care for older adults, either family members or paid care workers with certification and accreditation that support and allows for global mobility of this newly created, skilled workforce.

Our expectation is that caregivers who are certified through our platform will be globally recognized and accredited with student able to immigrate to meet jobs needs around the world.  These will be jobs with skills for the 21st century and with the potential for progression as more course work is completed.

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What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year and in the next five years?

Southeast Asia is a rapidly ageing and underresourced partof the world struggling to meet its basic needs including extreme shortage of skilled/ semiskilled manpower for health sector, particularly primary health care industry. Much of the people in this region live in urban or rural area where lack of healthcare services affect peoples’ life and hence the socioeconomic development of the country.  Our project will provide training and education for elder caregivers to create a more skilled workforce, improve quality of life and lower healthcare costs.

As we have now invested the time and money need to create the educational content, our biggest challenges are:

  • Capital: to attract an appropriate amount of scale capital to invest in and support our business growth.  
  • Government support: to achieve our objectives and have the broadest impact we need to have strong support at the government level.  
  • Scalable platform: we need to anticipate our growth to ensure that our platform is robust enough to carry the load, with an ability to scale rapidly as demand increases.
  • People: to attract and retain key talent who are inspired by our vision and ready to make an impact.
  • Partners: to deploy locally, we need to find good partners who can help us reach and have an impact at the local level. Cost data: to generate good cost data showing the reduction in care burden that results when staff are trained and certified on our platform.  
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How do you plan to overcome these barriers?

We have developed concrete plans and strategies to address and overcome these barriers: 

  • Capital: after self-funding this initiative thus far, we have three paths to secure funds: (a) grants which we are pursuing, (b) strategic partnerships which we are considering; and (c) external venture capital with whom we are discussing investment.  
  • Government support: we are seeking to engage at the government level in the geographies we have targeted to ensure alignment and support and have good success thus far in Asia and Europe.
  • Platform: we have identified our core platform and learning management system and have prioritized scalability in the initial architecture and product selection.
  • People: we have a growing network of qualified and interested people who want to be part of this new initiative but will need to be careful about how we manage growth.
  • Partners: we are evaluating potential partners and strategically choosing those who we think would be best as we focus on specific geographies. Cost data: we need to work further on this topic with the right people in conjunction with the payers or healthcare agencies to develop a robust data collection methodology.
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About Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models
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How many people work on your solution team?

We have a lean full time staff with four nearly full-time founders and 6 part-time staff, three independent contractors and four advisors.  

As we move into the scale up phase, we will recruit more full-time team members to advance our content development and digitization work, for customer support and training.  

Our back-office function is largely out-sourced and we will start to internalized when and where it makes sense forma market-responsiveness and cost-effective perspective.

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How many years have you worked on your solution?

1.5 years (18 months)

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Why are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

Peter Nicholson, MBA is Managing Director of ALTEKA, a healthcare consultancy.  Through his 35-year career in biotechnology and healthcare he gained global exposure to the challenges and opportunities related to the ageing demographic.

Francis Hughes, RN, PhD, ONZM has more than 35 years of healthcare experience with particular specialty in mental health and disability. She has worked in over 18 countries, having held positions with WHO, Chief nurse in New Zealand and Australia and as CEO of the International Council of Nurses.

Julia Hennessy, RN, PhD, MEd is President of the globally recognized Auckland Institute of Studies, one of New Zealand’s largest tertiary learning organizations. Her career has focused on the development of healthcare and social services program at local and international level.

Marion Clark, RN, MPP, has a 30-year career of management and leadership in the health sector focused in clinical (nursing), hospital management, health public policy analysis and policy management, health professional regulation and health international development working with governments, NGOs and industry.

Ershad Ali, PhD, M Engr, MSc, is a senior faculty of the globally recognized Auckland Institute of Studies. He has more than three decades indepth experience in both the private and public sectors and has strong network with government and non-government agencies in Bangladesh and India.

Monique Morrow, MBA, MSc, currently serves as President of the VETRI Foundation and is Venture Partner for Sparklabs Accelerator.  She spent 16 years at Cisco as the company’s first Services CTO.  She is also founder of The Humanized Internet.

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What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?

In India, we are in discussions to partner with Kolkata-based International Institution of Management Sciences (IIMS).  International Institute of Management Sciences (IIMS), a non-profit management institution situated in Kolkata, is a pioneer institution in India to offer Management Education in the private sector since 1979. The Institute is the first in the country to receive All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Govt. of India, approval in 1991 for offering PGDBA (equivalent to MBA) in Distance Learning (DL) mode marking the recognition of its competency in fulfilling the commitment of excellence and outreach.

In Bangladesh, we are in partnering discussions with Dhaka-based Japan Bangladesh Friendship Nursing Institute (JBFNI).  JBFNI was established in 2012 for producing skilled nurses who would be nationally and internationally fit for working with their excellence in knowledge ,attitude and practice. keeping this mission in mind JBFNI governing body has been keeping no stone unturned to provide all possible world class academic and hands on training environment to bring out best in our nurses.

In Malaysia we are in partnering discussions with Kuala Lampur-based Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM).  UiTM is a leading innovation-driven entrepreneurial research university in engineering, science and technology.  UiTM as the biggest postgraduate research university in technology has also established a reputation for innovative education and cutting-edge research, with a vision towards the development of creative human capital and excellence in science, technology and engineering for the well-being and prosperity of mankind.

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Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

We have a hybrid business model that focuses on business-to-business engagement while also supporting consumers.  

We partner with organizations to provide training and education to their staff with an annual platform fee and a fee per employee, based on the total number of employees.  

We also partner with educational groups around the world seeking to expand their offering to include the training and education of caregivers.  Through joint ventures, we work with educational groups to establish urban-located centers-of-excellence in which we can engage with the community and pursue out-reach to rural areas.

To extend our reach further, we also provide training and education to individuals who are able to directly access our educational information on our platform via the internet.  

We charge a per student fee for our courses with an additional charge for certification.  Our pricing is based on the guidelines provided by the World Bank, with organization and individual in wealthy countries paying 100% of the index price, upper-middle income countries paying 60%, lower-middle income countries paying 30% and low income countries paying 10%.  Because we are a social impact company, we also provide our materials for fee in those cases where there are no resources available. 

There are other revenue opportunities we will be able to pursue, such as advertising for employers seeking to recruit caregivers but we have not included a meaningful contribution from this source in our revenue forecast.

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Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, or to other organizations?

Organizations (B2B)
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What is your path to financial sustainability?

We plan to source funding from grants, strategic partners and investors to meet our funding requirements.  Revenue will commence in the second half of 2020 following the release of version 1 in Inda followed by introductions in Malaysia and Bangladesh.  This SAAS business model is based largely on an enterprise-to-enterprise growth with relatively modest contribution for the consumer channel, particularly in the initial years.

We are seeking funding through grants and from private investors to help us reach the market.  We will carefully match our growth to the success in the market and provide mid-course changes in strategy or execution should we not generate the expected results.  Thus, we are focused on longer term sustainability rather than as growth-at-all-costs business model.  We target break-even cash flow in six quarters, once we launch and profitability beyond that as we grow our business and reach. 

We have had multiple discussions with professional investors - private family offices and venture investors focused on the field of online education - and expect to engage with them for growth capital so that we can expand our activities into other geographies and increase our staffing to meet the needs the business as it grows.  We have been approach by impact investors and believe there will be opportunity with them given the social impact mission we serve.

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Partnership & Prize Funding Opportunities

Why are you applying to Solve?

Asia has the largest population and is ageing the fastest, worldwide.  Thus the need to develop pragmatic solutions that can be deployed locally while leveraging insights from the best academic and medical centers around the world is acute.  We are focused on meeting this challenge by leveraging the use of technology, something that MIT Solve can help us to better understand and more capably address including the recruitment of a world-class Chief Technology Officer. 

Southeast Asia has recognized the urgent need to develop pragmatic solutions that work across socio-economic levels to provide a pragmatic solution to the ageing challenge.  We can deliver that through our initiative and create a new group of educated vocational workers that can leverage their new skills to deliver elevated and person-centered care in Bangladesh or elsewhere in the world.

By supporting us with this grant, MIT Solve can help to raise the visibility, access its network and, ultimately, reach the rest of the world in learning how to proactively and productively address this challenge in a cost-effective manner while creating 21st century jobs.  

The MIT Solve ecosystem and community is broad and with tremendous collective experience and insights.  As a mission-driven social impact organization, we can leverage these resources to partner together to have a lasting and transformational impact that changes that face of ageing while enabling a new vocation that up-skills workers who might otherwise be left behind in our rapidly changing world.

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In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Business model
  • Funding and revenue model
  • Talent recruitment
  • Board members or advisors
  • Marketing, media, and exposure
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Please explain in more detail here.

The MIT Solve ecosystem and community is broad and with tremendous collective experience and insights.  Though this high impact group, we can get help in our desire to refine our business model as relearn and adopt it to the environments in which we will operate.  As we do this we can refine our revenue model and forecast and thus enable sourcing growth capital through fund raising.  

One of the biggest challenges we will face is recruiting talent as we scale and grow, from the Board room on down and MIT Solve can helps to address this by leveraging the broader network to recruit advisors to further grow our understanding of the business are seeking to establish and then take steps to optimize it.

Because of its highly regarded stature and success, winning MIT Solve can help us gain media exposure well beyond the level could otherwise reach on our own.

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What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?

We would like like to partner with IT service providers who can help us leverage their expertise in technology delivery in support of our online learning platform.

We would like to pattern with faculty members at MIT who are leaders in developing assisted living technology devices and applications so we can understand and present these in the context of our training and education programs.

We would like to partner with the healthcare community within the broader MIT network that is focused on geriatrics and gerontology so we can learn rom them and extend our insights while enhancing the quality of our programs.

We would like to partner with people within the MIT education arena that can help us to optimize the online presence we are creating to ensure the best learning environment.

We would like to be introduced to funding sources to help us advance our programs and reach the broadest number of people across geographies to enhance care of the elderly while creating jobs with meaning for disadvantaged people that have the potential to lower the burden on healthcare budgets.

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Solution Team

 
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