Innovate Now, an accelerator that extends support to innovators building assistive technologies has selected eight ventures to participate in its fifth round of training and mentorship programme.
These ventures from across Africa will benefit from a 12-week immersive hands-on training that takes them through innovation curriculum, expert mentorship, user research and networking with investors to help them accelerate their technologies to the market.
Beneficiaries of the 5th Cohort of Innovate Now acceleration are building solutions addressing challenges that include hearing and visual impairments, speech, and mobility. There were 28 applications by innovators from Kenya, Tanzania, the United States and Uganda.
Berna Chiira, Director of Innovate Now said, “We selected eight ventures that demonstrated the most innovative use of digital technologies to increase access to assistive technology and other products and services for persons with disabilities.”
The acceleration program spearheaded by Innovate Now is a partnership between collaborators. They include; Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub), ICT Norway, Norad, and Kilimanjaro Blind Trust Africa. The aim is to support digital assistive technology (AT) ventures in their innovation efforts through partnership and collaboration.
The eight ventures selected for the 5th Cohort include; Learning Differently Limited, Accessible Travel Kenya, Uptyke Consulting Limited, EZSpeech, Disability Innovations Suite Pepesi Wheelchair, Dasuns, Knock Knock, and Kenya Christian School of the Deaf APP sign to communicate.
Each of these firms has unique solutions for people living with disabilities. Disability Innovations Suite, founded by Dr. Mbugua wa Mungai Kenneth Gichohi, for example is the manufacturer of Pepesi wheelchair. It’s portable and designed to operate in different terrains. Users can place their orders through the firm’s online platform dubbed Kochi Systems. Once the details are submitted, the company is able to fabricate customized solutions for the end user.
Innovate Now was founded in 2019 and has been working with partners including the UK government to help assistive technology innovators scale their businesses .