A hub to drive disability innovation and assistive technology has been launched in London by UCL, Plexal and Here East.
The East London Inclusive Enterprise Zone (ELIEZ) is the first fully accessible, specially designed space for entrepreneurs and businesses leaders who are disabled, or focused on servicing disabled people.
ELIEZ features an innovation lab optimised for accessibility, and it will coordinate the delivery of accessible innovation education, training and events.
The zone builds on the success of the Global Disability Innovation (GDI) Hub based at UCL, which already provides exceptional disability-focused teaching, research and innovation as well as delivering a UK Aid funded £20m global programme on assistive technology.
Dr Catherine Holloway, the academic director of the GDI Hub at UCL, said: “The East London Inclusive Enterprise Zone builds on the legacy of the London 2012 Paralympic Games – the most successful Paralympic Games ever.
“More importantly, it will nurture a new generation of diverse entrepreneurs and innovators who are committed to developing a better, fairer future for all people.
“Our aim is to launch 100 new start-ups which will then kick-start the UK’s first inclusive innovation sector and foster inclusive technological, social and economic growth for the benefit of all.”
UCL Innovation & Enterprise will use its business expertise to support the ambitions of the ELIEZ and deliver on the potential of inclusive innovation, following the successful launch of 68 graduate start-ups at UCL’s BaseKX incubator in the past 12 months.
Dr Celia Caulcott, UCL’s vice-provost (enterprise), said: “We believe that universities like UCL must work together with industry, third sector and government to solve complex social, environmental and technological challenges.
“The East London Inclusive Enterprise Zone exemplifies the sort of sustainable, inclusive growth we might aim for in the future.”
ELIEZ is a collaboration between, UCL, Plexal, Here East, Global Disability Innovation Hub, Disability Rights UK, Capital Enterprise, Greater London Authority, Loughborough University, London College of Fashion, UAL, Hackney Council, Ford Mobility, Inclusion London, Barclays Eagle Labs, and the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC).
It is one of 20 University Enterprise Zones (UEZs), launched with a £20m investment and delivered by Research England, part of UK Research and Innovation.