Gadgets contest to help disabled

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Published: Saturday 25th October 2014 by The News Editor

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The Government has launched a Dragons’ Den style competition to encourage British entrepreneurs to create gadgets to help disabled people.

Disabled people and their families have a spending power of more than £200 billion, but ministers say there is a “serious gap in the British market” for products pitched at them.

Ministers are launching a £400,000 competition to entice inventors into creating apps and gadgets to hep the disabled lead more independent lives – and tap into the lucrative “purple pound” market.

Budding entrepreneurs will pitch their ideas, and 25 will receive a £6,000 contract to take their concepts forward.

That will be whittled down to 10 finalists, who will each be awarded another £10,000 to develop their ideas into a prototype.

The winning inventor of the Government’s Accessible Technology Prize will be announced in 2016 and will scoop a £50,000 contract to take their idea to market.

The competition aims to inspire technological innovation to assist disabled people in fields as diverse as education, the home, leisure, transport and work.

Mark Harper, Minister of State for Disabled People, said: “This is a vastly untapped multi-million pound market, which we want more business people to see the potential of. As part of our long-term economic plan, we hope the prize will spur more people on to enter the accessible technology industry and make a difference to the lives of millions of disabled people in Britain.”

Severely injured by the July 7 terror bombings, Dan Biddle went on to create a smartphone app to help disabled people find accessible pubs, restaurants and hotels in London.

The businessman and wheelchair user said: “When I acquired a disability my life changed forever. But just because you’re disabled, it doesn’t mean you can’t do things. With a little help from inventors, disabled people’s lives can be transformed.”

He added: “With a little ingenuity more people could be harnessing the purple pound to enhance our lives.”

Published: Saturday 25th October 2014 by The News Editor

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