Innovate Now provides training for assistive technology innovators

(Ecofin Agency) – Assistive technologies can change the lives of people with disabilities. Worldwide, more than 2.5 billion need it. Africa is the part of the world where these people have the least assistive innovations possible.

Innovate Now, a partnership between the Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub), ICT Norway and Norad, has launched a call for applications for the Learning and Mentoring Program for African Assistive Technology (AT) Startups.

The program is looking for innovation-driven start-ups that improve access to assistive technology through digital means or that provide digital assistive technology solutions in education, health, livelihoods, and other sectors.

For a period of 3-6 months, selected startups will benefit from an educational program focused on user, market, product and business development, as well as access to Kenya-based and global mentors who are experts in assistive technology and entrepreneurship.

Innovate Now mentors include innovation professionals, academics, business coaches, industry leaders, and startup experts. They will meet regularly with owners who provide critical feedback to support rapid progress.

In addition, the program provides participants with legal and marketing assistance, fundraising, experimental design, merchandising, and investor readiness. They will also have the opportunity to join a global network of innovators.

Innovate Now is designed to develop the problem-solving, persistence, and resilience of AT innovators with a focus on applying knowledge in the real world and responding to the challenges they face. This will allow them to actively apply learning, in order to improve the living conditions of people with a disability.

Note that more than 2.5 billion people worldwide, the majority in Africa, require one or more assistive products to enhance communication and cognition (such as wheelchairs or hearing aids), according to the World Health Organization. The Foundation reports that one billion people do not have access to it.

The deadline for applications is Monday, August 15.

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Vanessa Ngono Atangana

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