Bengaluru: Samarthanam, a 22 year young National Award-winning disability-focused NGO launched India’s first-ever Assistive Technology Conclave( http://www.atalabs.org/program/) this Friday, 23rd August 2019. The conclave focused on Tech Startups for Disability.
This half-day conclave brought together some of the best assistive technology startups, investors and leaders from the corporate and social sector to discuss the current opportunities and challenges of the ecosystem and discuss ways to collaborate and help the disabled population. Legendary Cricketer, Mr. Rahul Dravid graced the event as the Chief Guest and Mr. Priyank Kharge (Former Minister of Social Welfare, Government of Karnataka) and Mr. Kumar Naik, IAS, Principal Secretary, Department of Social Welfare, GOK was also present at the event.
Mr. Rahul Dravid kickstarted the Conclave by inaugurating the ATA Lab (Samarthanam HSR) following which two separate panel discussions were held on prominent topics around Assistive Technology. In the first panel discussion, the topic of the discussion was; ‘How to Shape the Future of the Assistive Technology Ecosystem’ and its impact on the world. Mohan Sundaram (CEO & Founding Director, Artilab Foundation) – Moderator, Gaurav Mittal (Co-Founder, Eye-D), Jeevan Reddy Anupalli (Lead Accessibility Consultant, Edgeverve), Suryaprakash (Ex-SVP, Digital Head, Infosys) Gopal Srinivasa (Microsoft Research Accessibility Team)were the panelists for the first round of discussion.
The second round of panel discussion was on market access and opportunities for Assistive Technology. Jawahar Bekay (Executive Chairman, TAO: The Automation Office) – MODERATOR, Basavaraju Siddalingaiah (State Commissioner Disabilities Karnataka), Madan Padaki (Co-Founder & CEO, 1BRIDGE), Deepa S (Lead Diversity & Inclusion, APJ at EMC), Surabhi Srivastava (Co-founder at Innovision) were the speakers who embraced the second-panel discussion.
Assistive Technology Accelerator (ATA) has been working relentlessly towards creating more awareness about the world of disability and they have been quite successful in their efforts so far. Last month, ATA caught the attention of one of the top podcasters in the tech world – Neil Patel, who featured them in- Indian Startup Show.
In its latest, report, World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that over a billion people around the world live with disabilities today. In India itself, the number of people registered with disability accounts for over 21 million, 2.1% of the country’s population. Prateek Madhav, CEO, Assistive Technology Accelerator said, “As home to one of the largest populations of the disabled, we have an opportunity to develop solutions that not just impact lives locally, but also around the world. However, assistive technology remains to be a segment unknown to many, even within the technology, startup, and corporate ecosystems. AT Conclave is the first step towards building a more robust support system for these startups, and realize their full potential with likeminded investors, corporates and partners”.
Mr. Mahantesh GK, Founder Managing Trustee of Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled said “Samarthanam has always looked ahead and had a futuristic vision for people with disabilities. Because of our strong vision of Technology and inclusion, we believe that the ATA initiative is going to be a big enabler touching many more lives. Samarthanam has always forayed in the field of disability empowerment, providing technology education such as voice to text and text to speech recognition, digital and audiobooks and services to people who are visual, speech/hearing impaired and with other disabilities, to build productive lives. We must leave no stone unturned in building several infrastructure services and digital products to enable the lives of the disabled. It is my desire that every disabled person is enabled and empowered to have access at their fingertips. I am proud of the inclusive trajectory ATA has taken and I wish the ATA initiative the very best in its endeavors as they continue to proactively build capabilities in the accessibility space.
The conclave attracted over 150 delegates from leading corporates, NGOs, investment firms and technology startups. ATA also showcased startups from its accelerator program, including __Eye-D, Innovision, Tactopus, Illuminify, BleeTech, Indent Designs, Torchit etc.
“This conclave is a great opportunity for us to interact with so many potential partners and mentors in one day. As a startup with such a niche market, we always struggle to find the right audience that can help us take our product to the right markets. By hosting the conclave, ATA has accelerated that journey significantly”, said Gaurav Mittal, Co-Founder & CEO, Eye-D.
ATA program focuses on product development and market access through ATA’s wide mentor pool and partner NGOs. Through this program, the ATA aims to bring in technology innovation, reduced cost of solutions, increased the availability of Assistive products to the disabled population.