Anne Connolly Smart Ageing Ventures International Photo
Anne Connolly Smart Ageing Ventures International Photo

What People Say

Liam McLoughlin Photo for Testimonials

Liam McLoughlin
Former CEO of Retail Ireland - BoI

  • At the first meeting I had with Anne, back in 2015, she opened my eyes to the enormous opportunities for a bank like BoI in the silver economy. I quickly realised that there was much we could do to better serve our existing older customers and to offer an enhanced service proposition to attract new customers. To do so, we needed to get a much deeper understanding of the changing needs and lifestyles of our older customers and a highly effective way of doing so was to join ISAX which we did immediately.
  • The second thing we did very soon afterwards was to create a new role – Head of Senior Banking. We had other leadership posts focused on different customer cohorts like students, young entrepreneurs and SMEs. Why not older consumers? We were really pleased to lead the way on this – a first such role in an Irish financial institution. We did it for very sound business reasons – to have a finger on the pulse of this large and growing market, to challenge our unconscious assumptions and stereotypes and to ensure we could develop the products and services necessary to meet the needs of the 21st century ‘new older adult’.
  • We were very active members of ISAX and proud to be the lead sponsor of the first ever Smart Ageing Innovation Awards which Anne had persuaded companies such as Abbott and Home Instead as well as agencies such as IDA and Enterprise Ireland to support. She also led the way in the whole area of entrepreneurship for people transitioning out of full time work with the Ingenuity Programme – Start Your Own Business for ‘mature’ entrepreneurs – which we were also delighted to sponsor.
  • Anne in my view has pioneered the whole area of ‘smart ageing’ and played a key role in alerting businesses to the opportunities in the silver economy.
Gerard O’Neill Photo for Testimonials

Gerard O’Neill
CEO Amarach Research

  • Amarach Research has been delighted to collaborate with Anne over the years in her pioneering of the ‘business of ageing’. I believe, she has played a major role in alerting the business community and government policy makers to the opportunities presented by the rapidly growing ‘silver economy’. She certainly opened my eyes to the significance of a growing and relatively wealthy older consumer base.
  • We were active members of the two very successful networks she established – Ageing Well Network and ISAX (the Ireland Smart Ageing Exchange). She created a very effective forum where leaders from businesses, academia, NGOs and government departments and agencies could come together to network, learn from each other and partner on issues of mutual interest.
  • We were delighted to partner with her on a number of seminal national surveys and studies. She conceived the idea of a dedicated conference on the “Business of Ageing” back in 2010 and repeated its success the following year. Amarach Research were proud to conduct the national study and present the findings which formed the keynote address to that first conference. It highlighted the specific business opportunities across different sectors – from banking, to housing, leisure, tourism, digital health and much more.
  • Later, we were delighted to conduct that national survey for the ground-breaking report “Housing for Older People – Thinking Ahead” which ISAX and the Housing Agency commissioned to gain a deeper understanding of the current and future housing needs of an older population and which demonstrated the growing opportunities in this €25bn sector.
  • We look forward to continuing that collaboration with her in her new venture, SAVI.
Ger O’Keeffe photo for Testimonials

Ger O’Keeffe
Founder and CEO of Allwaywithyou, an early stage company in digital health and wellbeing platform for older adults

  • As the founder of an early-stage digital health and wellbeing platform for older adults ( we have benefited enormously from Anne’s in-depth knowledge of the business opportunities in this area, from her extraordinary contacts and ability to open so many doors for us. We are delighted to have been one of the early clients for her latest venture, SAVI and we are collaborating with her on a trial to assess the impact of the use of these technologies on improving the lifestyles and overall health of older adults living independently in their own homes.
Niamh Scannell photo for Testimonials

Niamh Scannell
Former head Intel Digital Health, EMEA Division

  • The Ageing Well Network was an invaluable resource to the Intel European Digital Health team. It provided us an opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with government departments, and in particular NGOs, as well as Atlantic Philanthropies that might otherwise have been quite challenging. Anne’s vision for the network, her tenacity in brokering ‘unlikely partnerships’, and research exposing the changing needs of the 21st century older consumer supported the business community in understanding opportunities in this market segment. I was pleased to provide Intel sponsorship for the first ‘sold out’ Business of Ageing conference in RHK back in 2010 and to see this flourish.
  • Anne also pioneered the Age Friendly Communities Programme, quickly seeing the opportunity to translate the WHO programme into a tangible local programme in Ireland. Thanks to her leadership role, Ireland now is the only country where the programme is rolled out into every local authority area. When she conceived the idea of hosting the first ever global Age Friendly Cities Summit in Ireland and of inviting mayors from cities across the world to travel to Ireland to sign the Dublin Declaration of Age Friendly Cities, it was a ‘no brainer’ for me to secure Intel sponsorship and participation for the very successful event.
  • I am excited that Anne has decided to set up her own dedicated Smart Ageing Consultancy practice and wish her well. I look forward to exploring opportunities of mutual interest with her
Tom Costello Photo for Testimonials

Tom Costello
Former head of Ageing Programme in The Atlantic Philanthropies

  • When it launched its Ageing Programme, The Atlantic Philanthropies commissioned Anne to complete an assessment of what was needed here in Ireland. She identified the need for a leadership network – one that would bring together very senior level ‘influencers’ from across government departments and agencies, NGOs, ageing related research departments and businesses. Its purpose should be to develop a shared understanding of the opportunities and challenges posed by rapid population ageing, and to identify what could be done by organisations working on their own or in collaboration with others where there was a shared interest. Atlantic asked her to design and lead it – there was no ‘off the shelf’ model.
  • It proved to be highly effective and resulted in many of those participating leading change in their own organisations. The Assistant Garda Commissioner was one of the first to lead the way with a first Garda Strategy on Older People. Others quickly followed. Probably the most important legacy on which I worked closely with Anne, is the highly effective Age Friendly Ireland programme, now operational in every local authority in Ireland and which has adopted the same principle of multi-stakeholder involvement at local level.
  • Anne is a highly dynamic organiser and a very creative thinker. I wish her well in her new consultancy practice – SAVI.