News & Analysis

Cerebral Palsy Alliance and Telstra Foundation launch disability-focused accelerator Remarkable

- March 29, 2016 2 MIN READ

This week will see the launch of Remarkable, Australia’s first disability-focused impact accelerator, which aims to find new ways of using technology to transform people’s lives. 

With one in five Australians living with a disability and only one in ten people globally living with a disability getting the equipment they need to function, the accelerator, a division of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance and powered by the Telstra Foundation, will look to facilitate breakthrough technologies that increase social and financial inclusion for people with a disability.

Peter Horsley, founder of Remarkable, said, “Now is the perfect time to see innovation in the disability sector; the advent of NDIS, access to cheaper technologies, and a burgeoning impact investment scene.”

The accelerator will run for 16 weeks, with the first intake of startups to receive $20,000 in seed funding along with masterclasses, user testing and access to an extensive mentor network.

Between four and six startups will take part in the first cohort, with these startups looking at solutions for a range of issues facing those with a disability.

Certain designs include using the power of 3D printing to create assistive technologies, leveraging gaming to detect hearing impairments in children, and helping people with a disability find accessible public transport routes.

With participation and inclusion the most significant human rights issues identified by people living with a disability in Australia, Horsley said a big part of the Remarkable program will also be helping develop empathy, rather than sympathy for someone.

One startup entering the program that can be identified is Sydney healthtech AbilityMate. The startup harnesses 3D printing technology to make personalised devices for people with a disability. These devices are open source and disrupt the assistive technology space by removing supply chains.

“Our mission is to find ways that assistive devices are made, not on a profit basis, but on a for purpose basis. So we’re a for purpose business which means that we do make a little bit of money but only enough to sustain the business,” said cofounder of AbilityMate Johan du Plessis.

“Our main goal is to get people with disabilities worldwide to have the equipment that they need.”

The launch of the accelerator comes as the latest development in the broader healthtech space. Recently social enterprise accelerator One10 announced an investment in Health Delivered, an app that aims to assist dietitians in how they manage their clients by providing their clients with the necessary tools to become proactive in their practice.

Cofounder of One10 Geoff Gourley believes that startups like these can help serve the masses and make significant change in-conjunction with non-for-profit service delivery modules.

“Long term it’s going to reduce the burden on the healthtech sector,” he said.

With the program kicking off on April 6, demo days will be held both at the halfway and end points of the program to introduce each team to potential investors.

Image: Peter Horsley. Source: Supplied