Quarterly Publication - Ed. 02-May6 - Flipbook - Page 21
CREATING A MORE
Maayan Ziv (Next 36, 2016),
Founder and CEO of AccessNow
aayan is an entrepreneur driven by activism.
From a young age, Maayan challenged
norms and worked within her community to
increase awareness of disability issues and
improve accessibility. Living with Muscular
Dystrophy, Maayan is a relentless advocate for creating a
more accessible world. After earning a Bachelor's degree
in Radio and Television Arts and a Master's degree in
Digital Media at Ryerson University, she threw her passion
into entrepreneurship and brought AccessNow into the
Next 36 program. Since then, she has been a regular media
commentator on topics such as disability and inclusion. In
2016, Maayan received the City of Toronto Access Award
and the David C. Onley Leadership in Accessibility Award
in recognition of her innovative solutions and commitment
to improving the lives of people of all abilities. Maayan
also sits on the boards of the Toronto Arts Council and the
Centre for Independent Living in Toronto.
Lack of accessibility across many retailers,
restaurants and more
AccessNow: A crowdsourced app to map
(and change) the accessibility status of
WHAT WAS YOUR MOTIVATION FOR CREATING
AccessNow began as an idea during the first week of my
entrepreneurship master’s at Ryerson University in 2014. The
whole week we’d been talking about looking for solutions to
problems in our lives, or our families. After wanting to go to
this restaurant to celebrate with my friends, and not being
able to find out if the place was actually accessible for me,
the idea for AccessNow took over and my frustration turned
into motivation. Inaccessibility was a problem I’d been facing
my whole life and I was now in a program where I had the
opportunity to spend a significant amount of time solving it.
HOW DOES ACCESSNOW IMPACT ITS USERS?
Our app allows users to find an accessible space, letting
them do something with just a little bit more ease. It’s really
important to recognize that people who have accessibility
needs are dealing with this constant baseline of anxiety just
trying to navigate their daily lives. Their basic needs aren’t
being met and this greatly impacts their confidence. We help
people get answers about which daily amenities they can access, which seems very simple, but it’s not for these people.
Something as simple as finding an accessible restaurant can
be a very empowering moment for someone. We contribute
to a sense of confidence - which we’ve heard from a lot of our
users - and this confidence can be life changing.
is almost as
investing in it.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE IMPACT WITH PROFITABILITY?
— Maayan Ziv
Recently raised $2.7 million from the federal
government, totalling $3 Million raised to
date. 26,229 places pinned (and counting)
across 34 countries.
One of the biggest arguments that we’ve been making
since the begining is that baking accessibility, or social impact, into your business model is something that in today’s
world, opens up great opportunity. Frankly because it allows you to reach new audiences. At AccessNow, our sweet
spot lies in creating a channel for accessible businesses to connect to people looking for accessible businesses, something that sounds obvious but was never previously addressed in a
way people responded to. Recognizing that
accessibility matters to your business is almost as important as investing in it.