Russia: social entrepreneurs to use assistive technologies for disabled people

A new trend is emerging in social entrepreneurship: Assistive technologies




Assistive technologies help people with disabilities to lead the same lifestyle as everyone else. This market has yet to be fully developed, with projects implemented here eligible to receive the full range of support measures available to social entrepreneurs, said Yulia Zhigulina, Executive Director of the Regional Social Projects Foundation, Our Future, speaking at a round-table event organised by the Moscow Confederation of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.


“Our Foundation has been supporting such projects for many years which we see developing into whole ecosystems aimed at promoting social values. This new trend involves a transformation of tasks. Our current focus is not just on the rehabilitation of people with disabilities but on creating assistive technologies that help maintain quality of life which should be the norm. Businesses that develop such initiatives are entitled to the same support as social enterprises”, said Zhigulina.


Referring to the development of technical rehabilitation aids (TRA), experts quoted statistics showing that Moscow is home to over 3.5 million potential users of assistive technology solutions. Of these, 916,200 are people over 18 years of age.


At the same time, there are around 120 companies in the capital that are involved in the development of TRAs. The sector is not just limited to prosthetics but also offers services that enable people with disabilities to compensate for loss of physical functions. For example, Ilya Chekh, an engineer and robot technician, turns prosthetic limbs into toys and fun gadgets so that children are not afraid of them.


Yulia Zhigulina emphasised that the market for assistive technologies is huge which means that competition here will be limited for a long time to come. Social entrepreneurs have the option of choosing this niche and to develop projects for specific target audiences.



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