Assistive Tech Impact Fund the story so far

Global Disability Innovation Hub, Brink, Catalyst Fund
Dec. 1, 2021

The Assistive Tech Impact Fund (ATIF), an AT2030 project, providing grant funding as well as bespoke business, research, and technical support to pioneering Assistive Tech (AT) innovators working towards increasing AT access to millions of AT users across Africa. This paper presents key insights from our work with the first cohort of AT ventures who are pushing the boundaries of AT innovation and disrupting the archaic models of AT production and supply in the African market. 

Globally, there are 1.2 billion disabled people, and this is set to grow to over 2 billion by 2050. The World report on disability (WHO & World Bank 2011) show that 90% of disabled people do not have access to the AT they need to achieve independence, participation, and the full realisation of their human rights – that’s 900 million people globally with an unmet need and 80% are based in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs).

ATIF is addressing this market failure, spanning challenges at both policy and practice-level, by investing grant capital (up to £200K) alongside 6 months’ custom venture support. ATIF is tackling one core challenge by identifying key barriers to scale for African innovations. The scaling of AT production in Africa could reduce costs to the user, thereby increasing access to AT and enabling local solutions for local AT access challenges. 

Insights

  • Insight 1: Growing the sector comes with an 'innovator burden' - in markets without an enabling environment, innovators are left to do it all
  • Insight 2: Ventures are pioneering business models - there is a variety of business model experimentation taking place
  • Insight 3: Scaling pathways are predictable, with partnerships and catalytic cash injections adding oomph to organic growth
  • Insight 4: A playbook for registering new markets is emerging - ATIF has begun to compile these requirements alongside ways for innovators to meet them
  • Insight 5: New and novel payment solutions that are being trialled are showing that people are able to pay towards AT, but only time will tell if they stick 
  • Insight 6: Innovative business approach to reach new verticals in the market

Read the full report