An inclusive accelerator is launching in Sydney with a hackathon that aims to spark startup solutions that help people with a disability.
Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s new tech accelerator Remarkable will bring together over 100 tech developers, entrepreneurs, industry professionals and people with a disability to hack solutions for a more inclusive client base.
“We’re using the lens of disability to create better design for everyone,” Remarkable founder Peter Horsley tells StartupSmart.
With inventions like the telephone and SMS created to facilitate communication with people who have disabilities, Horsley says that tech developers can have great impact by being inclusive.
“All of these solutions came to the fore when the needs of people who have a disability were taken into consideration,” he says.
Enabled by Designathon will run from Thursday March 31st to Saturday 2nd at the University of Sydney.
Backed by NSW Family and Community Services and the Telstra Foundation, the two-day hackathon will see at least one person with a disability represented in each startup group.
“We start with people who have disabilities – whether it’s vision impairment, hearing loss, cerebral palsy,” Horsley says.
Commencing with a series of lightening talks by special guests like navy diver Paul de Gelder who lost limbs in a shark attack and bio-med entrepreneur Jordan Nguyen, groups will create a wide range of startup ideas before presenting them to a judging panel for a chance to go through the Remarkable accelerator.
“Remarkable is about the social and economic inclusion of people with a disability and tech has a major part to play in that,” Horsley says.
With a human-centred design approach, the event will incorporate “empathy activities” to create an environment where people are working alongside each with an understanding of what life is like with a disability.
“It’s about what the solution enables for us,” he says.
“We also need to be thinking about scalable solutions whilst designing for people with a disability.”
In line with this, participants will be grouped by their unique attributes, business acumen, tech skills and life experience to build solutions for a more inclusive society.
Enabled by Designathon began in 2012 when UK’s Denise Stephens was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 24.
Experiencing rapid degeneration of her health within six months and seeing first-hand the frustration with using “assisted technology” that hadn’t really changed in 40 years, Stephens decided to launch Enabled by Design.
“Design for All is a design philosophy that targets the use of products, services and systems by as many people as possible without the need for adaptation,” she said at the Australian launch in 2014.
With new developments in robotics, web and data-driven solutions, Horsley says the disability sector is an impact investment space with burgeoning possibility.
“The reality is the sector is ripe for disruption,” he says.