Dr. Annick Janson was invited to the Science and Innovation commission at the Israeli Parliamanent. The meeting was held to mark the International Day for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The session was about encouraging entrepreneurship in the domain of assisstive technology. Chairing the commission was MP Uri Maklev: MP Ilan Gilon and Chaim Yelin also spoke. Dr. Janson explained the background for current assistive technology endeavours in Australia and New Zealand and their relevance to the local environment.
Yael Elstein, Director Technology Consulting Center, Beit Issie Shapiro introduced the topic outlining the significance of Government's role in nurturing the innovation micro-cosmos. Ms Elstein outlined that it is critical to develop more technologies to enhance the quality of life of people with disabilities, their independence and inclusion. Technologies are core to each person realising their potential. Elstein explained that 1.6 million people with disabilities live in Israel - close to 20% of Israel's population and that the number of people with disabilities worldwide is one billion. In her words, the main barrier for entrepreneurs to develop more assistive technologies is financing. This is why government support is needed. On the other hand, once developed, these technologies benefit society as a whole – for instance vibration, text-to-speech and voice activation technologies were first developed as assistive and were later adopted by mainstream. To conclude the meeting, the chairman of the Science and Technology Committee confirmed that a round table of all relevant government agencies, associations and organizations who deal with the issue will be established. This will benefit the general public at all levels: “it is our duty to work for it."
Guy Spigelman, CEO Presentense described the Australian NDIS experience and its support for innovation. Presentense has an interesting experience with setting up social entrepreneurship ecosystems. PresenTense facilitates a global community of innovators and entrepreneurs, thinkers and leaders, creators and educators. This network harnesses social entrepreneurship as a tool to add value to communal life, grow local economies and solve critical issues facing society.
To conclude the meeting, the chairman of the Science and Technology Committee confirmed that a round table of all relevant government agencies, associations and organizations who deal with the issue will be established. This will benefit the general public at all levels: “it is our duty to work for it."