Innovation for care of the elderly - thanks to
Start-up Challenge of the Altenpflege Leitmesse 2022

Interview with Veit Bechte

From 26. to 28. April 2022, Altenpflege Leitmesse opens its doors in Essen - for managers, home and care service providers. Interested parties will find new developments, trends, products and services on the topics of inpatient and outpatient care. In addition to numerous programme items, one component is the Aveneo Start-up Challenge, a special show that awards prizes for innovative ideas in the field of care for the elderly. HEWI is part of the Start-up Challenge jury. Veit Bechte, Head of Research + Development, will once again help to select the best entries and reports in the interview on how HEWI supports start-ups from the care sector.

Bild von Veit Bechte

Veit Bechte, Division Manager Research + Development

HEWI: Mr Bechte, thank you very much for taking the time for this interview. Could you start by briefly introducing yourself to our readers, please?

Veit Bechte: With pleasure. My name is Veit Bechte and I have been Head of Research and Development at HEWI since 2014. Before that, however, I also worked in various other branches - in addition to the sanitary sector, I also worked in the water, electricity and furniture sectors. In addition to my job, I am Managing Director of HEWI's wholly owned subsidiary, MIDAS Coating GmbH, based in Burgwald. MIDAS handles all powder coatings for the HEWI product range. I have been part of the Start-up Challenge jury for three years now.


HEWI: Thank you! Please tell us more about the Start-up Challenge.

Veit Bechte: In short, the Aveneo Start-up Challenge is looking for analogue and digital solutions for care. The application scenarios are extremely wide-ranging. Interesting ideas are, for example, those that improve the quality of life of the cared-for, enable self-determined living or relieve the burden on caring relatives or integrate them better into the care process. In addition, the aim is to develop innovations that promote and better value skilled workers in elder care. Increasingly interesting are also ideas that focus on the shortage of skilled workers. Equally important, however, are those that improve process control and support management. In 2020/2021, 41 participants have been nominated so far. The awards for the Start-up Challenge 2022 will be presented in the following categories:

  • Concept & Strategy
  • Communication & Documentation
  • Smart Objects & Smart Solutions
  • Living & Entertainment


HEWI: And what role do HEWI and you play in the context of the Start-up Challenge?

Veit Bechte: I might have to elaborate a little on that. Thomas Bade, director of the Universal Design Institute, approached me at the beginning of 2019. He is the initiator of the Start-up Challenge, together with Vincentz Verlag. In addition to his management function, Mr Bade also works as a lecturer. The topic of ageing is of high importance in universities - more and more also for younger people. The Start-up Challenge combines university and research knowledge on the one hand and innovation on the other. As HEWI is the topic leader in the field of accessibility, it was only natural that we should be part of the Start-up Challenge. I have been a juror since 2019 and HEWI supports the Start-up Challenge. Not only monetarily, but above all with our expertise and know-how in the field of sanitation and care

Logo der Altenpflege Start-up Challenge 2022

HEWI once again supports the Start-up Challenge for the Leading Trade Fair for Elderly Care 2022

HEWI: What does this support look like in concrete terms?

Veit Bechte: There are various things to do during the Start-up Challenge. The preparation is now quite time-consuming - we expect a triple-digit registration from innovative companies for the 2022 Challenge, which is great! We jurors evaluate the entries - in addition to HEWI, Home Instead and Future X are now also sponsors of the Start-up Challenge and therefore also part of the jury. In addition, we also help start-ups after their participation. For example, we supported the company iuvas in the realisation of their product, a drinking aid. What materials are needed for the product? Which manufacturing processes would make sense? With our know-how in the field of plastics technology, we were able to provide the company with many tips. In the meantime, their drinking aid "sippa" is ready for series production and on the market. Another example is the company Hyto from Austria, which has found a really clever solution for mounting toilet seats. This ensures better hygiene in the care environment. We are currently also in close exchange with Hyto.


HEWI: Why do you think interested start-ups should register for the Challenge?

Veit Bechte: Participation is worthwhile because around 20 of the nominated teams can win a free exhibition space as part of the Aveneo special show at Altenpflege 2022. In addition, the start-ups and companies have benefited in the past from a broad attention and reputation among trade visitors.


HEWI: Thank you very much for your time, Mr Bechte.

Veit Bechte: With pleasure!


Further information on registration and conditions of participation can be found here:
https://www.universal-design.org/start-up-challenge. The closing date for registration is 21. January 2022



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