ROCHESTER, Minn. (KEYC) — Applications are being accepted from individuals and teams for the Assistive Tech Challenge, a pitch competition to facilitate greater independence for people with disabilities and the daily challenges they face.
The online application deadline is scheduled for Feb. 10, while the pitch competition will be hosted at the Rochester Civic Theatre in Rochester, Minnesota, on April 4.
“The Assistive Tech Challenge puts a spotlight on the region’s innovative spirit,” said Chris Schad, organizer of the challenge and director of business development at DMC’s Discovery Square. “It encourages entrepreneurs to develop their ideas while showcasing solutions for individuals with disabilities.”
Teams for this competition are divided into two categories:
- Open Divison: For community-based teams and students.
- Professional Division: For companies formed with annual revenues not exceeding $200,000.
Rochester-based Adapt-A-Cart, who was the winner of the Open Division during the inaugural Assistive Tech Challenge, developed a solution to a real-world problem for wheelchair users.
“The Assistive Tech Challenge has given us a platform to solve a problem that directly affected our daily lives as wheelchair users. Because of the competition, we now have a startup company that we believe will help other users shop at grocery stores and other retail outlets,” said Adapt-A-Cart Co-founder Nick Elliott.
First-place teams in each category will receive a $5,000 prize, while second-place finishers in each category will receive $2,500. Furthermore, all teams that place first and second will be eligible to participate in the Walleye Tank pitch competition in Minneapolis in May.
Participants in the 2020 Assistive Tech Challenge should develop a product or service related to:
- Independent living
- Access to employment
- Support for care providers
- Social skill development
- Improved public infrastructure.
Teams will then address a series of questions during a five-minute presentation to an expert panel of judges, followed by a three minute Q&A session. The questions that all teams will be asked to answer include:
- What problem are you solving?
- How are you solving the problem?
- Why is your team the one to solve it?
- What do you need to further develop your idea?
Visit AssistiveTechChallenge.com for more information.
The Assistive Tech Challenge is supported by BioSig Technologies, Colliers International, Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., Home Federal Savings Bank, Mayo Clinic Office of Business Development, Rochester Home Infusion, Kabara Institute, Saint Mary’s University of MN and Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation.