Sorgen is the German word for care. In this case, “Creative”, “Assistive”, “Rehabilitation” and “Enterprise” are exactly what the Singapore start-up is about. With a vision to commercialise creative solutions for the silver generation, Sorgen sets itself on creating assistive innovations to improve the lives of the elderly and the physically disabled.
Its founder, Serene Tan (from NUS Business School) was a student at Temasek Polytechnic when she first thought of using the idea of enhancing mobility for the elderly and using it in her final year project to develop a prototype of Sorgen’s first product, Glydesafe®, a walking frame with wheels that enables users to roll the frame instead of having to lift them up with each step. Due to its safety feature, the prototype was well-received in a trial run at hospitals, elder care and rehabilitation centres, and won several awards including the 2011 Tan Kah Kee Young Inventors’ Award.
This was when Serene saw the potential of her prototype to touch lives and decided to commercialise it. She then met and recruited her co-founder, Aaron Boo, a final year student majoring in Mechanical Engineering at NUS to help with setting up Sorgen. They worked together to resolve product mechanism issues and eventually set up Sorgen’s base at one of NUS Enterprise’s incubation containers at Prince George’s Park. Both founders also managed to kickstart the first batch of Glydesafe® for shipment from the $10,000 Innovation and Practicum Grant received from NUS Enterprise. In addition, to help build up expertise in managing Sorgen, Serene took part in the NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC) iLEAD programme (now known as NOC Singapore) , which allowed her to learn from multi-national corporations and other start-ups.
Since its inception, Sorgen has been showcasing itself and securing distributors at trade shows. One of its biggest milestones was when Serene was introduced to a supplier of healthcare equipment in China at Youth Business Singapore, who agreed to manufacture Glydesafe®. To date, Sorgen has collaborated with more than 20 healthcare partners in developing Glydesafe® and sold some 150 units. Going forward, both founders are looking for global distribution to retailers and hospitals and are working on developing new product line.