7 reasons to enter the Enable Makeathon

The Enable Makeathon co-creation lab will run from the 6th to the 21st Dec 2017. The Enable Makeathon focuses on identifying key challenges and co-creating solutions with disabled people.  In these 15 days teams will bring their ideas to life, design business plans, build prototypes and battle for the top prize of $25,000. However, few will be in the competition just for the money. With 1-week left until the 30th September deadline I put forward seven reasons why you, and indeed everyone, should be thinking of getting involved.

WHO infographic capturing what is detailed on the GATE webpage, http://www.who.int/phi/implementation/assistive_technology/en/
WHO Infographic showing the need for for better health for people with disabilities

7 Reasons

  1. For Equality. Disability is known to be both a cause and consequence of poverty. Disabled people are less likely to have jobs and less likely to have finished secondary school. This is simply not fair and we want to take some action to change it!
  2. To overcome the social causes of disability. Disability is not caused by an impairment. The fact someone can’t see should not be a barrier to reading this blog; technology fills the gap and simply reads the text aloud. If I can’t walk, a building is only inaccessible if I can’t use my wheelchair to get in and out. Inclusively designed places, products and services, essentially means beating disability over the head.
  3. To go where no one has gone before. The WHO estimates 85% of those who need basic assistive products do not have access to them. That is millions of people denied access to technologies which would enable people to have basic human rights. There are 200 million who don’t have access to eyeglass and 360 million who can’t access hearing aids. Frequently, people drop out of school, lose jobs and the ability to make their own livelihood, not because they are not bright and hardworking but because these technologies are beyond their reach.
  4. To stand out from the crowd. Designing for disability means to design for brilliantly diverse use cases. It means taking emerging technology and using if for good. it means learning about the world of international development and how you can deliver a product or service. You will learn a lot.
  5. To develop ideas into enterprise. An idea is just that. It takes love and nurturing and a lot of hard work to bring it to life. Even then it is simply an invention. You need to get it to market, have convinced people to buy it. Then you can call yourself an entrepreneur. To help you there will be access to world-class prototyping and manufacturing facilities; business and entrepreneurial mentorship.
  6. To become a social entrepreneur. There is a growing interest in social entrepreneurship. How though do you become one? Through the Enable Makeathon co-creation phase you will meet and be mentored by world leading social entrepreneurs.
  7. To help create a movement.  This year’s Enable Makeathon is brought to you by the Red Cross and the GDI Hub. Our success will be obvious when we are not needed any more; when the movement is happening globally without us; when new assistive products have been developed with disabled people to eradicate the effects of impairment, level the playing field of life and create a fairer world.

Who should enter?

According to the Enable Makeathon website:

We invite innovators to apply in teams (up to 5 people) and strongly encourage persons with disabilities with fresh ideas to participate in Enable Makeathon 2.0. We also encourage start-ups in early stages to develop their ideas and be supported by mentors and experts from the humanitarian field.  

How do I apply?

The Enable Makeathon process started back in May when the challenges were researched. Globally people were asked what the most pressing needs were. The need has come directly from people who experience disability.

  1. Look at the challenges and decide which one your idea best fits; or pick one to solve
  2. Make sure you are speaking with people who have a lived experience of this challenge.
  3. Go to the Enable Makeathon website, hit enter and fill in a form.

If you need more inspriration, check out why the marathon thinks you should apply, here.