Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation Hosts First-Ever Disability Tech Summit

Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation Hosts First-Ever Disability Tech Summit
Posted on Tue 8 Nov 2022

While the world isn’t built for disabled people, there’s technology that is — and visionaries, innovators, entrepreneurs, and funders gathered last week to tackle this challenge at the first-ever Remarkable Tech Summit. Hosted by Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation (CPARF) and Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA) at San Francisco’s Exploratorium, the summit kicked off with a welcome by Breaking Bad actor RJ Mitte and brought together disabled people with lived experience, investors, entrepreneurs and startup founders, accelerators, researchers, and nonprofit leaders to chart the path forward for assistive tech.

The summit followed CPARF’s soft launch of Remarkable US — the first nonprofit-funded disability tech startup accelerator in the United States — earlier this year, with a pilot cohort of three US-based companies. CPARF works in partnership with Remarkable — a successful disability tech start-up accelerator made possible by Australia’s Cerebral Palsy Alliance.  Since 2016, nearly 50 startups have come through the global Remarkable accelerator and these startups have raised more than $28 million to power up the potential of people with disabilities everywhere. 

Over the course of two days, summit sessions explored the disability economy, the current heightened interest in developing and marketing assistive technology, why affordability matters, and how investors and creators can partner to make an impact. The event also featured fireside chats that delved into how investment can embrace disability technology, and how personal experience parenting a child with a disability becomes a driving force for change.

Both the accelerator and the summit followed the guiding disability-rights principle of “nothing about us without us,” and the summit featured a range of perspectives, underscoring that progress requires elevating disabled voices. Minnie Baragwanath, a disability advocate and Chief Possibility Officer of the Global Centre of Possibility, captured that by highlighting that “humans are the most important technology we can invest in. We talk about investing in tech, but we’re investing in humanity.”

That investment requires increasing product and service accessibility, and a stride forward in one direction helps everyone. “You have to be intentional. Have accessibility written into your project plans and hold people accountable to it [because] building a culture of awareness of disability is so important,” said Jennison Asuncion, Co-Founder of the Global Accessibility Awareness Day Foundation.

The summit also featured RAMPD President and GRAMMY Board Governor Lachi, Bump’n Chief Disability Officer and Co-Founder Andrew Gurza, and speakers from Google, Salesforce, SmartJob LLC, and other changemaking organizations.

Disabled people have always been at the forefront of innovation. As Remarkable Founder Pete Horsley shared, “when you bring bright people together and you start thinking about the world as we know it and the world as it could be, some magic starts to happen.”  

Applications for Remarkable’s next cohort opened at the summit. To learn more about the accelerator or submit an application for the next cohort, visit www.remarkable.org/accelerator. 

ABOUT CPARF

CPARF funds US-based research to change what’s possible for people with cerebral palsy, implements proven science, and advances innovation to benefit all people with disabilities.

To read about CPARF’s ongoing research projects, visit www.cparf.org or contact info@cparf.org.

Listen to Ease Your Mind Post-Stroke With Nuroflux’s Portable Brain Monitoring on Apple, Spotify & Google Podcasts.

This Giving Tuesday, you can make a difference for families like Hope and Natalie.