NovaXyon Entrepreneurial Incapacity Accelerator Initiative Goals ‘The Subsequent Technology Of Radically Inclusive Generation’

Incapacity Accelerator Initiative Goals ‘The Subsequent Technology Of Radically Inclusive Generation’


There are nearly 1.3 billion people with some form of disability globally, according to the World Health Organization. And despite the fact that an increasing variety of assistive technologies exist, a tiny portion of all those individuals have access to them. Plus, while disability-oriented accelerators, incubators, and other support organizations exist, along with entrepreneurs developing innovative technologies, the ecosystem is fragmented and in need of funding.

That’s where the Moonshot Disability Accelerator Initiative comes in. Announced at the Sept. 2022 Clinton Global Initiative, it aims to support 10 existing accelerators for tech startups focused on people with disabilities in eight countries. The goal: getting them, along with early-stage entrepreneurs, ready for investment and, ultimately, to strengthen the entire disability innovation ecosystem. It recently released a report about the state of the disability innovation ecosystem, Disability Innovation: Empowering the Entrepreneurs Reimagining Inclusion Around the World, developed with accelerator pioneer Village Capital.

“The purpose is to support leaders in countries around the world who are advancing principles of inclusive and universal design to create the next generation of radically inclusive technology,” says Regina Kline, founder of SmartJob, an impact consultancy focused on ecosystem building in the disability sector that is the driving force behind the Moonshot Initiative. She’s also managing partner of Enable Ventures, an impact venture capital firm targeting the disability wealth gap.

Technically, the initiative is held and managed by New Venture Fund, a fiscal agent. It’s kicking off a fundraising effort; the amount to be raised hasn’t been disclosed.

Big Market Potential

There’s a potentially large and lucrative market for products designed for people with disabilities, especially those that also can be used by the more general market. According to Rachel Crawford, special projects consultant at Village Capital, such products and services as the typewriter and electric toothbrushes began as innovations for the disability community. She points to what she calls, “the business opportunity of disability innovation.”

The report, which was sponsored by JP Morgan Chase, cites a potential $1.9 trillion GDP gap stemming from the unmet needs of people with disabilities.

Peer Support and Online Tool

One of the 10 accelerators in the initiative is ATS Labs. Founder Varun Chandak, who is hard of hearing and has Erbs Palsy, started it as a pilot in 2019 and officially launched it in 2021. Before that, he’d turned a student initiative at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management into Access to Success, a nonprofit aimed at helping to develop a pipeline of future leaders with disabilities. His accelerator is finishing up its fourth three-month cohort and is about to hold a demo day.

For Chandak, what’s been particularly helpful has been the transparent sharing by participating accelerators of lessons learned. He cites a resource report from Remarkable, an accelerator based in Sydney, Australia, produced for Moonshot participants. “The level of openness—it just blows my mind,” he says. Chandak also points to some tactical lessons he’s learned, like the importance of having not just mentors, but also coaches, work with entrepreneurs. Ultimately, he wants to add that service, though he needs to raise money to support those efforts first.

While Kline points to the initiative’s peer support network for sharing best practices as important, she also stresses the use of Village Capital’s online tool, called ESO Diagnostic, to measure participants’ activity via milestones related to their business model, programs, and other areas, and create a baseline going forward for tracking their development. “This is part of an effort aimed at sustainability,” she says.

Key Findings

Some of the report’s findings include:

  • Entrepreneurial activity. Entrepreneurs with disabilities are pushing boundaries, creating and producing products and services that are both functional and cutting-edge.
  • Mindset shift. A growing number of ecosystem builders and supporters, most of whom have lived experience of disability, are demanding what the report describes as “a paradigm shift” in how the sector is funded.
  • Systemic challenges. A lack of understanding of children’s needs and the training to support children with disabilities leads to disparities in education. This trickles into employment opportunities for those with disabilities.
  • A need for funding. The sector needs more investment capital for pre-seed, seed, and growth stage entrepreneurs addressing accessibility, assistive technology, and disability innovation. Also important: greater continuity of philanthropic capital to accelerators and others to sustain and scale the disability sector entrepreneurial ecosystem.


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