Innovate Now, Africa’s first Assistive Technology (AT) Accelerator has announced its sixth cohort of innovators, ventures providing digital AT or using digital to increase access to AT products or services.
The innovations forming Innovate Now’s sixth Cohort address the needs of users with hearing and visual impairments, children with learning disabilities, the quadriplegic and paraplegic, epileptic and mobility issues cutting across sectors such as education, IT, health and wellness.
The start-ups will benefit from a 12-weeks immersive hands-on and inclusive innovation curriculum,expert mentorship, user centred research through the Live Labs network, and investor linkages to accelerate, scalable assistive technologies to market. The ventures will work towards pitching at a demo day scheduled for 8 th December, 2022.
The seven ventures include; Cresnet VR, Hypnagogic React, Advanced Prosthetics, Braille Board, Celo-Care Technologies, Deaf Outreach Program and Seizure Assistant.
Founded by Dennis Moogi and based in Kenya, Cresnet VR uses virtual learning technology to offer differentiated and personalised learning experiences for learners with disabilities in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.
Seizure Assistant, founded by Bright M Bwalya and based in Zambia is a health management and experience sharing platform which also educates about Epilepsy while allowing people with Epilepsy get help in times of need, alerting a loved one and those around . helps persons with epileptic to send an SOS message to an emergency
Deaf Outreach Program, founded by Ann Gloria Njoki and based in Kenya offers an inclusive learning platform through a learning management system (LMS) for children (5-18) with hearing impairment. The platform will be a repository of developed sign language educational curriculum content for primary and high school children. This will be accessed online and offline through a mobile based application.
Braille Board based in Kenya and founded by Tito Masinde is solving cost and accessibility issues for persons with visual impairment who cannot access books in braille because current solutions are either too expensive, error prone or bulkier. The venture is developing a portable system of actuators placed on the fingers to help the blind read braille affordably and accurately.
Celo-Care Technologies founded by Joan Meddy and based in Tanzania designs and fabricates manual, automated and standing wheelchairs, hospital wheel beds and also offers maintenance and repair services for the same. The company sells their products online.
Hypnagogic React, founded by Stephan and Chantelle Hattingh and based in South Africa. Hypnagogic React, a mobile application that connects your smartwatch and smartphone to automate actions when you fall asleep or wake up. The results are improved livelihood, mental wellness, and general well-being. Automatic outcomes include; the pausing of podcasts/audiobooks, readjusting central heating, and switching on and off smart home devices. The inclusive solution is especially useful to people who are paraplegic or quadriplegic, it allows them to operate with increased independence when limited or nohelp is available. This is a simplistic solution for a more convenient and fulfilling life.
Advanced Prosthetics founded by Peter Mwangi and based in Kenya,is solving the dilemma of uncomfortable prosthetic sockets for all limb wearers and the expense of setting up a prosthetic clinic with machines, equipment and materials by introducing the use of 3D Print-
The digital AT and entrepreneurship project under Innovate Now is a partnership between GDI Hub, ICT Norway, Norad, and Kilimanjaro Blind Trust Africa. Innovate Now is a part of GDI Hub Accelerates – which brings together global stakeholders to accelerate disability innovation through partnership and collaboration. This new phase of Innovate Now is aimed at catalysing philanthropic and private capital to further build, grow and increase.
Innovate Now was launched in 2019 and to-date has supported more than 60 AT founders, 30 AT ventures and delivered more than 500 hours of mentoring and coaching across 5 cohorts. Our founders are spread across Kenya,Uganda, Nigeria, and the United States, forming one of the fastest growing and largest AT Startup ecosystems in the world.