When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I felt that I had an obligation to help others. Leveraging my background as a technology investor, I co-created a technology support service called TechServeTO to help seniors with digital literacy. I recognized seniors were facing social isolation due to physical distancing measures, and that COVID-19 was rapidly leading to the uptake of technological solutions across industries and applications. I saw my grandparents, whom I live with, struggling with everyday technology usage and I thought to myself – if I wasn’t living with them, how would they connect with family and friends? How could they maintain a good level of physical and mental health while observing social distancing measures?
TechServeTO is a software-enabled platform that pairs tech-savvy millennial volunteers with older adults who require free technological assistance. Our service provides one on one tech support to seniors, hosts instructional workshops on topics like using Zoom and grocery delivery services and also donates used devices to low income seniors.
Since founding in April 2020, we have provided technical support services to 830 seniors across Canada, recruited 175 volunteers and received donations of 27 hardware devices to distribute to low-income seniors. Our organization has also received national press coverage, with features in both the Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail. Most importantly, we have solved 95% of the technical issues we have encountered, allowing seniors to connect with their families and participate in the digital economy.
I believe my experience as a software investor at OMERS has influenced the creation of TechServeTO and I have applied the business models that I encounter every day – (e.g. platform businesses) –to create a non-profit that generates significant social benefit.
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