Winner of Supernova Challenge 2019

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Winner of Supernova Challenge 2019

Generation Start-up: How Key2Enable is seeking to change the lives of children with disability.

Key2Enable, a start-up providing assistive technologies in education to people of determination, is seeking investors to expand in the Middle East via its regional base in Abu Dhabi.

The EdTech company, which started in Brazil, is looking to raise up to $1.5 million to finance its regional growth and aims to close a deal by mid-2021, Jose Rubinger, co-founder of Key2Enable, says.

"We will go for the whole Mideast, hire people and conduct many pilots in schools and rehabilitation centres," Mr Rubinger says. "We can build an empire here because schools in these countries must accept students with disability and we want to provide them with a set of our assistive tools."

Assistive technology in education is any hardware, software or system of processes that helps students with a disability to engage more effectively with the curriculum and their learning environment.

Over one billion people – about 15 per cent of the global population – live with some form of disability and this number is increasing, according to the World Health Organisation.

Key2Enable, which started operations in Brazil in 2015 before opening a base in the US in 2018, set out to create a more inclusive educational experience for students with a range of physical and intellectual disabilities.

The company developed Key-X, a nine-button multi-functional smart keyboard that helps people of determination to use computers, tablets and smartphones for learning, communicating and gaming as part of its complete education platform.

The idea is to give children and adults with various disabilities – ranging from cerebral palsy, severe autism, Down syndrome, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s – greater autonomy and an inclusive learning experience through eye blinks and slight body gestures.

The company targets schools, rehabilitation centres and the households of people with determination to provide the students, teachers and caregivers the digital tools for accessible education.

In Brazil, where it makes more than 90 per cent of its sales, Key2Enable's products are in 500 schools and used by more than 8,000 people, Mr Rubinger says.

With ambitions to expand beyond its home market, the Key2Enable team came to the UAE capital in 2018 when Krypto Labs, an Abu Dhabi innovation hub, presented the company with an Entrepreneur Hero award at the EdTech Innovation Start-up competition. In 2019, it won the education category in the Special Olympics Challenge in Abu Dhabi, which sought innovative solutions that could improve the quality of life for people of determination. It was also one of 10 teams to be accepted into the first cycle of the Ma'an Social Incubator programme, which was established by the Department of Community Development in the capital.



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