Israeli Companies Developing Technologies for Handicapped Get High-tech Accelerator

A3i will include up to 15 startups developing technologies or services to improve the lives of the disabled.

A new high-tech accelerator has opened in Israel to assist the advancement of companies developing technologies to help the handicapped.

The new program, called A3i for Accelerating Inclusion in Israel, will operate out of Beit Issie Shapiro in Ra’anana, an organization dedicated to assisting people with disabilities and improving their quality of life which is a partner in the accelerator program. Some 15 companies are expected to participate in the accelerator, which its promoters claim is the first in world dedicated to improving the quality of life of those with disabilities.

Companies in the program will come to Beit Issie Shapiro once a week to receive personal mentoring by business advisers and assistance in formulating their business and marketing plans. The program does not include investments in the companies selected. Because the program only entails weekly evening meetings, it is suitable for entrepreneurs who are students, work other jobs or have other commitments.

The deadline for startup applications is December 28, 2013.

“We at Beit Issie Shapiro believe that people with disabilities and professionals in the field will succeed in fulfilling their dreams to make a difference if they receive the appropriate support,” said Beit Issie Shapiro’s Executive Director Jean Judes. “A3i is especially exciting as it gives entrepreneurs with innovative ideas a unique opportunity to turn their dreams into reality by obtaining knowledge, tools and guidance from both professionals and volunteers, who support these entrepreneurs throughout the process.”

Besides Beit Issie Shapiro, A3i is supported by PresenTense Israel and The Ruderman Foundation. PresenTense is a worldwide organization that has already established 16 accelerators and is planning to announce the launch of an additional accelerator in Nazareth, targeted toward Israeli Arab entrepreneurs. The Ruderman Foundation is a private family philanthropy that is active in promoting the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in society in both Israel and the United States.

“Innovation has the capacity to transform lives,” said Guy Spigelman, CEO of PresenTense Israel. “If you have a dream to set up a new venture to impact the lives of people with disabilities, be it a new app or a socially inclusive education initiative, you can make it a reality at A3i."

Reuters