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Microsoft Australia is partnering with Remarkable, a division of Cerebral Palsy Alliance, to sponsor two start-ups who are focused on creating AI solutions that aim to improve the lives of Australians with disabilities.

Under the partnership, the two start-ups will join Remarkable’s 16-week accelerator program which equips early-stage companies with seed funding, as well as the knowledge, skills and tools needed to become commercially viable businesses that have a positive social impact.

The selected companies will be granted $35,000 seed funding, mentoring, weekly masterclasses, pitch coaching, workspace at the Sydney Start-up Hub and access to corporate and investor networks.

“We’ve partnered with Remarkable because their mission of harnessing technology to build physical, social and economic inclusion of people with disabilities aligns perfectly with Microsoft. About one in five Australians has a disability and we truly believe AI can empower people with disabilities by providing tools that support independence and productivity,” said David Masters, corporate relations director, Microsoft Australia.

“This partnership with Remarkable is the latest initiative from Microsoft supporting organisations that are making technology more accessible for the four million Australians who live with disabilities every day.”

Since March 2016, Remarkable has assisted in the development of 67 prototypes, involved 62 people with disabilities in their programs and intensively supported more than 50 founders from 20 start-ups.

Microsoft says Remarkable works with start-ups using technology to make a positive impact on the lives of people with disabilities in seven areas: social inclusion, living inclusion, independence, personal well-being, physical wellbeing, learning and growth and employment or community contribution.

“We’re very excited to have Microsoft onboard given they are an industry leader in AI technologies and will be an invaluable partner for startups focusing on AI,” said Peter Horsley, founder of Remarkable.

“With their support, we’re now able to include companies specifically focused on AI in the next cohort, which we believe has so much promise in empowering Australians with disabilities.”

Applications are being accepted for the next cohort, in which eight companies will be selected for the program, with the deadline for applications set for 31 January. Finalists will be notified between 24 to 26 February, with the four-month program running from 25 March to 25 July.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

 

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