Empowering persons with disabilities through digital innovation: Insights from the GSMA Innovation Fund
About 1.3 billion people, or 16% of the global population, experience a significant disability. Approximately 80% of this population live in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and are often marginalised in society. About nine in 10 people with disabilities do not have access to the Assistive Technologies (AT) they need to live independent and autonomous lives. These challenges are compounded in LMICs, where digital AT innovations are nascent, not widely available, or simply unaffordable.
In 2020, we launched the GSMA Innovation Fund for Assistive Tech to support innovative start-ups and micro-, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across Africa and Asia to address the diverse needs of persons with disabilities and tackle one or more of the key barriers preventing them from accessing and using mobile internet.
In this report, we share insights from the implementation of the Fund, highlighting important lessons for AT start-ups and other ecosystem stakeholders about how digital innovations can influence how persons with disabilities use mobile internet and drive inclusion more broadly.