Manulife, World Economic Forum launch Prospering in Longevity Challenge

The first of three innovation challenges designed to help shape the future of, and investment in, longevity innovation

Manulife, World Economic Forum launch Prospering in Longevity Challenge

Manulife Financial Corporation, one of the world’s largest financial services providers, and the World Economic Forum (the Forum) have launched the Prospering in Longevity Challenge, a multi-year partnership, focused on shaping the future of and investing in longevity innovation. The partnership was launched through the Forum’s open innovation platform UpLink and was formally introduced during the Forum’s annual meeting in Davos.

According to Manulife, the challenge is the answer to the urgent call to address the critical health and wealth challenges many people face – or are about to face – due to the various environmental and economic changes happening in the world now.

“By 2050, the global population over 65 is expected to double to 1.6 billion, bringing significant health and wealth challenges for our planet,” said Manulife’s global sustainability officer Sarah Chapman. “We are partnering with the World Economic Forum and UpLink because of our shared sense of urgency to find inclusive and accessible solutions to help people worldwide live longer, healthier, and better lives.”

Manulife observed that while people live longer than in previous generations, it does not always equate to an improved health span. Citing a 2022 report, Manulife said on average, people spend about 50 percent of their lives in less than good health, including 12 percent in poor health.

Meanwhile, the challenge is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

"Innovation is key to achieving the SDGs by 2030, and by partnering with Manulife, we are committed to sourcing and scaling innovative solutions that strengthen financial resilience across longer lives and embrace a preventative approach to healthcare,” said UpLink – World Economic Forum head John Dutton. "This collaboration will democratize access to tools that increase financial resilience and surface solutions aimed at improving physical and mental health."

Democratising tools for financial resilience, improving people’s well-being

The challenge has two themes – strengthening financial resilience across longer lives and embracing a preventive approach in healthcare.

The first challenge focuses on creating solutions that will democratize access to tools increasing one’s financial resilience, particularly during a financial or health crisis. These tools may help people to make better financial decisions and increase their capacity to save for the future.

The second challenge, meanwhile, aimed for stakeholders to surface solutions that will improve people’s physical and mental well-being and encourage a preventative approach to healthcare, like access to virtual healthcare, lifestyle trackers, and early risk factor detection and intervention.

Inviting start-ups to join the challenge

According to Manulife, the program targets global start-up companies with innovative preventative healthcare and financial well-being solutions, and which are fully committed to enabling people of all generations to thrive while enjoying a financially resilient and fulfilling long life to participate in the challenge.

Applications started on June 17 and will end on July 22, 2024. The full project details, including the eligibility criteria and timelines, can be found through this link