The country’s first dedicated space for disabled entrepreneurs is set to open at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The East London Inclusive Enterprise Zone (ELIEZ) will place a key focus on development of innovative and accessible products and services by people with disabilities.
It will feature an innovation lab optimised for accessibility, the first such dedicated space in the UK.
The zone will also coordinate the delivery of accessible innovation education, training and events.
ELIEZ is a collaboration between a number of companies and organisations including University College London, Plexal and Disability Rights UK.
The £1.2 million project will receive £500,000 from Research England, match-funded and supported through in-kind contributions by the partners.
Deputy Mayor of London for Business, Rajesh Agrawal, said: “The Mayor and I are committed to ensuring all Londoners can participate in our thriving economy.
“This exciting new project is an important step in making this a reality and creating new opportunities for disabled entrepreneurs.
“I’m thrilled that such a diverse group of partners has come together to create this new innovation zone and I look forward to seeing it help new startups grow and thrive.”
Dr Catherine Holloway academic director of the Global Disability Innovation (GDI) hub, based at UCL, one of the key partners in the new ELIEZ said: “This exciting project builds on the legacy of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the most successful Paralympic Games ever.
“More importantly it will nurture a new generation of diverse entrepreneurs and innovators who are committed to developing a better, fairer future for all people.
“Our aim is to launch 100 new startups which will kick-start the UK’s first inclusive innovation sector and foster inclusive technological, social and economic growth for the benefit of all.”
UCL’s Vice-Provost (Enterprise), Dr Celia Caulcott, said: “We believe that universities like UCL must work together with industry, third sector and government to solve complex social, environmental and technological challenges.
“The East London Inclusive Enterprise Zone exemplifies the sort of sustainable, inclusive growth we might aim for in the future.
“Improving the lives of all people with disabilities is something we as a society should absolutely be striving to achieve under any circumstances.
“At the same time, this project has the added benefit of effectively creating new market sectors, stimulating local economies and also increasing overall productivity.”