The Disability Innovation Pre-Accelerator Lab which was held as a virtual event from 10th August to 26th August was successfully completed. LIRNEasia organized this event in collaboration with Vihara Innovations Network as part of our work on accessibility, PWDS (Persons With Disabilities) and use of ICT which is funded by the Ford Foundation.
Pre-Accelerator’s journey began with 18 startups in the cohort on August 10th 2020. Team at Vihara planned the first phase to be discussion and learning oriented where multiple knowledge dissemination sessions and workshops were organized. These sessions were hosted in collaboration with individuals representing organizations like GSMA, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) , IIT Delhi, Center for Law and Policy Research (CLPR), Saksham, Handicare, DEOC, Rehabilitation Society Of The Visually Impaired organization, ARTILAB Foundation, Social Alpha, Noida Deaf Society, University College of Medical Science (New Delhi) and LIRNEAsia.
After completion of Phase 1, 10 promising startups were shortlisted for Phase 2 to pitch their solutions to investors representing organizations like 100x.vc, Fluid Ventures, Startup Buddy, Unicorn India Ventures, V-shesh, and V2 Now Ventures, followed by panel discussions on value creation of impact accelerators and larger accelerator programs in future.
The final day of AccelerateAbility was closed-session for the organizers, experts and partners with a panel discussion to critique and address the evolving vision for the larger accelerator program. Some take-aways from this session were a need to develop end-to-end support for startups in the disability innovation space as key stakeholders like the NGOs are still very unorganized and underdeveloped to support accelerators, Government actors need to further extend support from a policy level, and private investors need to be cognizant of the growth rate and return-on-investment keeping in mind that startups in disability segment create solutions using a multidimensional approach in targeting growth, unlike traditional accelerator programs that solve unidimensional problems. While developing a larger impact accelerator program, there is a need to establish and manage such expectations with caution and disclaimers amongst all stakeholders involved. Additionally, a larger impact accelerator program will need to evaluate the input financing mechanism by strategically exploring output based financing mechanisms to create a disruption as envisioned.