An Innovation to Market (I2M) Plan, as part of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing, analyses the market of active and healthy ageing solutions and gives recommendations on how to overcome barriers. The aim is to empower people with digital tools and to help start-ups and SMEs that intend to scale-up across borders.

After contacting around 400 enterprises (online survey, qualitative interviews and further analysis), the Innovation to Market (I2M) Plan has found several barriers that hamper the deployment of large scale digital-enabled solutions for health and care: a communication problem between supply and demand, a highly fragmented market, lack of harmonisation and funding needs.

These barriers are particularly evident in the active and healthy ageing (AHA) sector where chronic diseases, social and cultural conditions and living environments are severe elements affecting citizens.

Close dialogue

According to the report, digital transformation of health and care cannot leave a close dialogue between supply and demand side out of consideration in order to identify unmet needs and to match solutions. As needs are evolving continuously, a permanent dialogue arena between buyers, users, and suppliers would support a common understating of the market landscape and evolution facilitating investments in AHA innovation. Harmonisation of the EU market for AHA will facilitate innovation processes, replicability of solutions and their cross-border uptake. 

In addition, in order for innovative SMEs and start-ups to scale-up their digital health and care solutions in a cross-border context, they need opportunities to concretely showcase their solutions to buyers who are seriously looking to procure a digital health solution in the near future, in addition to funding resources raised by local, national and European level.

Key recommendations

The Innovation to Market Plan recommends particularly to:

  • Increase dialogue and communication capacities between demand side, users and supply side by matchmaking events and meetings between buyers and suppliers;
  • Provide more information, business intelligence, market data and analysis to companies, healthcare managers and providers and policy makers, by mapping investment, twinning activities, catalogues;
  • Identify ways to group public purchases in Europe and harmonise quality and selection criteria;
  • Support SMEs and start-ups by providing a set of specific services, as for instance about business modelling, internationalisation, fundraising, recruitments, legal aspects, etc.

Innovation to Market initiative

Innovation to Market (I2M) is a cross-cutting initiative embedded in the European Innovation partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP on AHA), aimed at contributing to support the transformation of health and care in the Digital Single Market. It targets mainly innovative SMEs and start-ups that are already operating at a national or regional level and have ambitions to scale-up their digital health and care solutions in a cross-border context.

The I2M Plan has been written by the EU-funded WE4AHA consortium, which focuses on advancing digital innovation for the benefit of the ageing population. The Plan involved around 400 enterprises capturing their view on the Active and Healthy Ageing market, and it builds on the market demand vision mapped through a study developed and launched by ECHAlliance for the European Commission in 2017 entitled 'Map of investments'.

Third priority

Empowering people with digital solutions by scaling-up the market is the third priority of the Commission's Communication on Digital Transformation of Health and Care in the Digital Single Market.