Advertising students research business of aging in Business and Industry Knowledge Exchange Network

Research assistants Sarrazin and Voelk work on the Aging in Place project for SERC

Sheridan Faculty of Business students Alexi Voelk and Andrew Sarrazin, spent the summer as research assistants working with Pat Spadafora, Director, Sheridan Elder Research Centre (SERC) on a NSERC grant called Aging in Place: Optimizing Health Outcomes through Technology, Design and Social Inclusion.  The proposal question:  How can Sheridan and the Sheridan Elder Research Centre (SERC) best collaborate with, prepare and support small and medium-sized businesses to respond to the significant market opportunities presented by this demographic phenomenon?

“This research is important to SERC because one of our mandates is to encourage small to medium size businesses to recognize the demographic shift and to support them in learning more about working with, marketing to and designing for mature consumers,” said Spadafora.

Business and Industry Knowledge Exchange Network participants discuss issue around an aging demographic.

Students Voelk and Sarrazin were hired to work on business aspects of the grant. Voelk worked with pigeon* branding + design, conducting background research on marketing to mature consumers and designing products for mature consumers. Sarrazin’s focus was the business of aging and he assisted in the launch of the Business and Industry Knowledge Exchange Network (BIKEN). The intent of the group is to help small and medium-size businesses to diversity and to grow their businesses in response to an aging demographic.

“The Aging in Place research will also provide valuable opportunities for Sheridan students in capstone project courses to create and administer their own practical research project using SERC’s current research facilities. Interested students should be encouraged to contact SERC for more information,” said Spadafora

The BIKEN team organized two breakfast meetings with the goal of bringing businesses together to recognize this demographic shift and to support them in learning more about mature consumers.

Faculty of Business Professor Kathleen Begin recently completed the Elder Planning Counselor (EPC) designation and was interested to know how Sheridan College and the business world was responding to the aging population and the ensuing challenges and opportunities.

“I think we have a responsibility to our students to prepare them for what they will experience in their careers and personal lives. We can do this by building examples and cases in our classes that reflect different demographic groups,” said Begin.

Alexi and Andrew were part of a cohort of 13 research assistants recruited from Faculty of Business, Faculty of Applied Science and Technology, Faculty of Arts, Animation, and Design and Faculty of Applied Health and Community Service.   In addition, Faculty of Business Professor Cathryn Oliver was hired to support Advertising students Voelk and Sarrazin, both of whom are continuing as part-time researchers into the fall semester.


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