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Yale SOM Students Win INNOVATEChina Case Competition

team members Xiaoxiao Wang ’18, Ying Pang ’18, and Yuhuan Zhou ’19. Not pictured: Ada Xie ’20. Photo: Jiawan “Jill” Ni ’18.

A four-member student team won the competition at China Europe International Business School in Shanghai for designing an app that will help China’s fast-growing elderly population connect for social and community-building activities.

By Karen Guzman

A Yale School of Management student team won first prize at the INNOVATEChina 2018 global case competition in Shanghai on March 24 for designing an app that allows China’s fast-growing urban elderly population to connect for social activities.

The four-member Yale SOM team won $10,000 after a day of intense competition at China Europe International Business School (CEIBS). Finalist teams also came from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, IE Business School, Nanyang Business School, ESADE Business School, and CEIBS. The six finalists were shortlisted from more than 60 proposals submitted by MBA students from top schools across five continents.

Yale SOM’s team included MBA students Xiaoxiao Wang ’18, Yuhuan Zhou ’19, and Ada Xie ’20, and Ying Pang ’18, a Master of Advanced Management student. Their win marks the third consecutive year that an SOM team has won the competition.

“We designed an app called Silver Hour, which is a platform that creates an elderly-friendly, online space for senior citizens,” said Pang. “They can use it to initiate social activities, to help each other, and to build connections in the community.”

The app will also allow businesses to cater to an older population. The students envision recruiting local businesses that have significant off-peak hours or resources that could be offered to the elderly at a discounted price—movie screenings in the morning, for example. “We hope to create a stronger community spirit though common interests, mutual help, and care for the elderly—a population that has become an issue in China,” Pang said.

Zhou said that starting a business has always been his goal. “We came up with this idea because we want to do something for the senior people in China,” he said. “Since the Chinese senior population is growing larger, and senior people are becoming more tech-savvy, we think there is a potential and a need for such social networking apps designed just for seniors.”

Established in 2008, INNOVATEChina is organized by CEIBS MBA students. It brings together students from the world’s top business schools to test their skills in a challenging business plan competition. This year’s competition theme was (Re)Inventing Entrepreneurship.

The CEIBS team was awarded second prize for an app that helps parents in China find the right extracurricular activities for their children by connecting them to freelance teachers. Third prize went to the team from ESADE for their waste management education app.