Therapeutic Recreation student wins the E Co-op Pitch Competition for the first time in RLS history

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Katie Aubrey headshot

Katie Aubrey pitched her Enterprise Co-op business idea, Elevate, at the Ignition Week Pitch Competition, and placed in the top rank!

Katie, a fourth-year Therapeutic Recreation student, is the first student from the Recreation and Leisure Studies Department to win the Enterprise Co-op Competition. Not only did this win get her bragging rights, but also a $5,000 scholarship.

So, what is this $5,000 idea? As explained on their website, “Elevate is an innovative senior home-care service designed to enhance the quality of life for older adults through providing lifestyle services. Elevate leverages technology through providing cost-effective virtual services for our baby boomer population heading into older adulthood. Elevate will implement individual & group community programs as well as client-directed activities to influence autonomy, purpose, and most importantly, successful aging.”

Elevate was inspired by Katie’s co-op experiences working in several long-term care facilities amidst the COVID-19Elevate company logo - a house with an arrow pointing up as the chimney pandemic. In those positions she observed that an emphasis was being placed on physical health initiatives, yet there was a lack of programs fostering human interaction. This discrepancy was not due to the health care providers neglect of the importance of social needs, but the lack of capacity to organize activities targeting physical and mental health. This gap made her question how those in isolation were functioning in their home environments and what could be done to target social wellbeing.

“I got to wondering, how can we provide home care with a lifestyle approach? How can we give people access to community support and personalized care while they’re at home?” The integration of technology to personalized, holistic therapeutic recreation to target all realms of wellness in older adulthood, was the solution.

While Katie’s inspiration for Elevate was brought about by her interactions in co-op at long-term care facilities, her idea was developed in BET 300: Foundations of Venture Creation. This course, which acts as the introductory course to the Enterprise Co-op, allows students to obtain basic business knowledge for an entrepreneurial pursuit and gives them the practical skills to create a small business. From this course, Katie’s idea for Elevate was solidified and she entered her E Co-op term in January at full speed.

“I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I assumed I would just do it after I finished my undergrad. BET 300 and the E Co-op allowed me to stop thinking for a term, and start doing. I got to dedicate an entire term during my undergrad to building this idea and this business. Now, when I graduate with my TR with Gerontology degree, I already have the foundations and maybe even an operational business.”

Congratulations on your Pitch Competition win, Katie! We cannot wait to see the heights that this project elevates you to.

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