Meet the Innovate Now startups and find out more about the ideas, products and businesses that are being supported as we look to accelerate locally relevant AT solutions in Africa.
Cohort 1: Developing AT hardware & software
Linccell Technologies built Kenya's and Africa's first locally manufactured electric wheelchair from recycled parts with long-range lithium-ion batteries. The company also offers repair, maintenance,and after-sales support. The wheelchairs are built and tested for in-door and outdoor use on rough terrain.
Totosci holdings limited manufactures assistive devices using technologies such as Internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence, and assistive software developments. Products include AlexCane, an assistive device that increases the mobility of people who are visually impaired. AlexCane detects both static and moving objects for visually impaired people reducing anxiety and increasing productivity, independence and mobility.
Hope Tech’s Sixth Sense device uses echolocation and sonar, same as is used by bats and dolphins in object detection and applying modern concepts in IoT, artificial intelligence, machine learning and Big Data,the device is built at the ultimate walking companion to the visually impaired.
Vision Vijana | Kenya
Business-in-a-box is a youth-driven initiative that provides vision testing and fitting of eyeglasses in Kenya. They also provide eye-testing and spectacle assembly kits, technical, business and soft skills to launch unemployed youth to vision testing and eyeglasses fitting services.
Founded by Sylvia Nyaga, the social enterprise provides access to clean water, basic toilets, and good hygienic practices leading to better health & socio-economic development. The company has developed the Utulav toilet which is a portable toilet commode designed to improve lives and eliminate the indignity suffered by the elderly, the sick, and the physically challenged.
Cohort 2: Mobile Assistive Tech
A new technology enabling any mobile phone user to transform their phone number into a unique postal address in order to ensure cost effective physical delivery of mails and parcels. Due to rapid urbanisation and resources pressures, access to parcel delivery is a major challenge in Africa. Postal offices are centralised with existing infrastructure not build with accessibility in mind. The lack of physical addresses in most urban cities in Africa also make very difficult for customers to receive parcels. Through Mpost disabled people anywhere in Kenya with access to a mobile phone will be able to have parcels, including assistive technologies delivered to their doorstep.
Founded by Silvia Muturi, the company has a marketplace that connects quality sign language interpreters to the deaf community through a registry-based matching system anytime anywhere. This improves access to quality interpreters and creates pricing transparency which addresses the current exploitation making scheduling easier.
Founded by Martha, the web and mobile platform dubbed ‘Albinism and I’ is a one-stop shop that seeks to inform, connect, and empower persons with Albinism with information as well as skin and eye care products through their e-store.
Cohort 3: Inclusive Employment
Founded by Fredrick Ouko, Riziki Source web and mobile platform facilitates access to job opportunities for skilled persons with disabilities. The social enterprise also advocates for workplace diversity and disability inclusion for companies, organizations and governments through training.
Founded by George Gichuhi, Errands Guy eCommerce platform connects persons with disabilities who require assistance running errands to young skilled individuals offering the services at a fee.
Founded by Gabriel Saka, on the Table Africa’s web recruitment platform matches persons with disabilities, skilled in design, engineering, product and market development to companies looking to employ across Africa. They also advocate for access to equal employment opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.
Signs TV assistALL App allows anybody across the world to access on demand virtual sign language interpretation services to enhance inclusion & break communication barriers.The app can be downloaded on Play Store.
Cohort 4: Assistive Technology
Founded by Omeh Nnamdi Nelson, the company provides safer mobility enhancements for the elderly and the visually impaired such as the Visually Impaired Electronic Walking Guide (VIEW Guide) among other assistive technologies.
Co-founded by Ken Mwarandu and Isabella Oriani, the company designs, manufactures, and distributes affordable and high-performance wheelchairs, allowing persons with mobility impairment gain autonomous mobility, access life opportunities, reach economic independence and become active members of their community.
Founded by Oluwatomisin Kolawole, the company uses artificial intelligence to aid visually impaired students read printed text and navigate their environment independently by detecting colors, objects and their surroundings using audio feedback. Their products VISIS 1.0 glasses take pictures, convert it to text, and reads the text to the user while VIRI 1.0 detects obstacles, alerts the users, and keeps users safe.
Founded by Daniel Kamau, the company provides safe, reliable, affordable, and inclusive transport services (taxi with ramps) through their taxi hailing app available on play store.
Batian Eyewear | Kenya
Founded by Jackson Ndiangui, the company is an ecommerce startup helping digital workers combat eye-strain with affordable eyeglasses.
Cohort 5: Digital Tech
Founded by Muthuri Kinyamu, Accessible travel’s web platform offers an inventory of inclusive facilities providing interactions between PWDs and recreational facilities. They also provide accessible vehicles and wheelchairs for hire by individuals, hotels, and tour companies.
Co-founded by Dr. Mbugua Mungai and Kenneth Gichohi, the company’s digital platform, Kochi enables the customization of affordable and fit for use assistive technology. Their first product Pepesi wheelchair is easy to maneuver,less bulky, portable and easy to use.
Seizure Assistant | Zambia
Founded by Bright M Bwalya,Seizure Assistant is an application that allows persons living with Epilepsy to call for help in a moment they are about to experience a seizure and allows them to better manage their condition through the various features that are tailored to handle Epilepsy holistically.
Deaf Outreach Program | Kenya
Founded by Ann Gloria Njoki,DEAFOP offers an inclusive learning management system (LMS) for children with hearing impairment. The platform is a repository for accessible sign language educational curriculum content for primary and high school children.
Braille Board | Kenya
Founded by Tito Masinde, the company is building an affordable and portable assistive technology which uses a system of actuators placed on the fingers to help the blind read braille accurately.
Hypnagogic React | Kenya
Founded by Stephan and Chantelle Hattingh, their inclusive mobile application connects a smartwatch or other biometric devices to a smartphone to automate actions when one falls asleep or wakes up. Automatic outcomes include; the pausing of podcasts/audiobooks, readjusting central heating, and switching on and off smart home devices.
Advanced Prosthetics and Orthonics Care| Kenya
Founded by Peter Mwangi, the company designs,manufactures and fits 3D prosthetics for all limb wearers guaranteeing size accuracy, affordability, comfort, and functionality.
Cohort 7: Mobility for children and the elderly
Dynalimb | Nigeria
Founded by Taiwo Akinsanya, the company uses additive manufacturing (3D Technology) to make affordable and quality prosthetics and sitting brace for individuals with disabilities and amputations.
Deaftronics | Botswana
Founded by Tendekayi Katsiga, the company developed the first rechargeable hearing aid battery, which lasts for 2-3 years and can be used in 80% of hearing aids on the market. The company has also developed a mobile application known as DREET, which allows for hearing screening assessments.
Cure Bionics | Tunisia
Founded by Mohamed Dhaouafi, the company creates and manufactures 3D printed, lightweight, personalized bionic arms for adults and children that are size-adjustable, and muscle-controlled.
Med Ezequiel | South Africa
Kijenzi | Kenya
Alivio |United Kingdom/ Kenya
Founded by Lucas Paes de Melo, the company manufactures low-cost lower limb prosthetics and solves the accessibility problem by providing services remotely at the patients’ convenience. Its social franchising network of mobile clinics makes this possible.
Rahma Assistive Devices (RAD) | Kenya