Nairobi, October 15th 2020: Africa’s first Assistive Technology Accelerator, Innovate Now, is launching the third call for application from innovators across the African continent to develop technologies and services designed to assist people living with disabilities around the theme of the Future of Inclusive Employment.
Led by the Global Disability Innovation Hub as part of the AT2030 Programme, Innovate Now is implemented by Amref Enterprises Limited (AEL). This themed cohort will also partner with the i2i initiative.
Director of Innovate Now, Bernard Chiira says “We are delighted to launch the third Innovate Now call, as we begin Cohort 3 of the accelerator with a focus on Inclusive Employment. Over the past year, we’ve seen first-hand the impact of the accelerator programme, enabling African pioneers to develop ideas and early stage products into market ready Assistive Technologies – capable of changing lives. Like the rest of the world, we have adapted to COVID-19. Our third cohort will be digital, maximising accessibility and opportunity to disabled innovators across the region.”
Innovate Now supports startups to create technologies and services enabling persons with disabilities to find quality employment and flourish in the workplace by accessing assistive technology. With ambitions to support 60 startups, the programme has already seen two successful cohorts around mobile solutions and general assistive technology.
The future of inclusive employment cohort is looking to support startups who leverage digital platforms to match people with disabilities with job opportunities, accessibility products to improve the work environment and startups who creatively finance assistive technology through employers.
Beginning in November 2020 for 12 weeks, the accelerator will provide a hands-on approach delivering curriculum implementation, expert mentorship and user research through a Live Labs network to accelerate scalable assistive technologies.
Africa is the youngest and fastest-growing continent in the world. There is a unique opportunity to accelerate inclusive workplaces, providing wider societal benefits from reducing poverty to improving economies. According to the International Monetary Fund, population growth on the continent means that by 2035, there will be more young people entering Africa’s workforce each year than in the rest of the globe combined.
Innovators with passion for change and a product or idea around the future of inclusive employment are encouraged to apply and be part of this ground-breaking new approach to empower African pioneers to build an inclusive world.
Apply now at https://atinnovatenow.com/apply/
Notes to Editors
About Innovate Now
The Innovate Now project provides advanced user-centred design, business and technical support to over 60 start-ups to develop assistive technology innovations, products and services. Innovate Now was launched in June 2019 and is funded by UK Aid, through Global Disability Innovation Hub (AT2030 lead partner) and is being led by Amref Enterprises Limited (AEL) in Kenya. More information at: https://atinnovatenow.com/
The AT2030 programme will test, over five years, “what works” to improve access to Assistive Technology and will invest £20m to support solutions to scale. With a focus on innovative products, new service models, and global capacity support, the programme will reach 9 million people directly and 6 million more indirectly to enable a lifetime of potential through life-changing Assistive Technology. AT2030 is led by the Global Disability Innovation Hub and is funded by UK aid from the UK Government. More information at: https://at2030.org/
About Amref Enterprises Limited
Amref Enterprises Limited (AEL) is the social enterprise arm of Amref Health Africa, the largest Africa-based international NGO. AEL is responsible for delivering sustainable social value through incubation and commercialisation of innovative solutions, conceptualised and developed throughout the organisation. AELs works to strengthen the primary health care system, in line with Amref Health Africa’s vision of creating lasting health change in Africa. More information at:https://amrefuk.org/
About Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub)
GDI Hub is a research and practice centre driving disability innovation for a fairer world. Based in East London and a legacy of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, GDI Hub delivers world-class research, ideas and inventions, creating new knowledge, solutions and products, and shaping policy through co-creation, participation and collaboration. More information at:https://www.disabilityinnovation.com/
Cohort 3 – Key information
● Duration: 3 months
● Location: Online
● Geography: Africa (with strong commitment to work in Kenya or other east African countries)
● Stage: Ventures past proof-of-concept with MVP and some initial users
● Sector: AT and employment-focused Startup ventures
● Legal Entity: : Both for-profit and non-profit social enterprises registered in any East Africa country or with demonstrated presence in East Africa Community
● Inclusive Participation: Persons with disabilities and women highly encouraged to apply.
● Age: Applicants must be of legal working age in Kenya (18 years) or guaranteed by a guardian of legal working age. They must have all the legal rights to work in Kenya.
1. Innovation-driven startups who are improving access to employment for persons with disabilities through assistive technology access.
2. Innovative, execution focused-agile problem solvers
3. Authentic mission drive founder(s)
4. Teams with a culture of empathy, continuous learning and problem solving
5. Structured and efficient teams (defined ownership, commitment, roles and accountability) and organisation (systems, processes and resources)?
Selected applicants will receive;
● Access to Kenya-based and global mentors and subject matter experts
● Access to our growing network of virtual Live-Labs-A unique concept that allows you to test, get feedback and validate directly with persons with disabilities across Kenya.
● Technical Assistance: tangible, direct support relating to what’s needed for your startup to succeed: legal, marketing, fundraising, experimental design, pitching and investor readiness.
● Access to our global inclusive innovation ecosystem and partner network across organisations of persons with disabilities, universities, funders, Assistive Technology experts, disability experts, inclusive design experts, corporates and NGOs.
● Access to Investor readiness support and our funding ecosystem e.g. AT Impact Fund
Elizabeth (Lizz) Ntonjira | Communication Director
Amref Health Africa – Global M: +254 711 337 310; Email: [email protected]