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Run often. Run long. But never outrun your joy of running

- Julie Isphording (former Olympic runner)

Being an avid marathon runner, I am always aware that running requires persistence, discipline and determination.  When we started AssisTech Foundation (ATF), it was the beginning of a brand new run. Our goal was clear. We wanted to address the challenges in disability, nurture innovations in assistive technology, and optimize opportunities to make positive, meaningful impact through technology. 

Running to learn and learning to run: Running is a continuous journey. Some runs are great, some not so much but there is always something to learn! It has been the same with the evolution and growth of ATF.  The journey has been an extraordinary one that has brought us much joy and an amazing sense of accomplishment as we see our start-ups spread their wings and begin their respective runs. In our journey, we are joined by 45+ leaders from the business, technology, start-up and disability sectors.

Keeping it Simple: I have a goal I want to achieve during every run. I plan meticulously and forge ahead even if I am injured or tired, persevering until I achieve my goal. There will be 2 billion people globally who will require at least one assistive technology product by 2030. At ATF, our goal is to help launch products across multiple disability streams, impact areas such as Learning (education), Livelihood (employment) and Living (3L’s!) by creating strategic global partnerships with similar initiatives in 7 countries – Australia, UK, Canada, Kenya, Ireland, China and New Zealand.  

Aspire and accomplish: I ran about 2200 kms in 2020 and trained many runners for full marathons in the middle of a global pandemic. ATF has successfully completed 3 cohort programs, mentored 21 assistive technology start-ups, introduced over 50 products, positively impacting the lives of 1.75 lakh persons with disabilities. The key to accomplishment is to focus on a single kilometer at a time with the only goal being to move forward, one step at a time!

While 2020 will definitely go down as a watershed year in the annals of history, it was also a year of great learning for me. Literal learning came from over 20 books that altered my life in different ways. Living through the unprecedented pandemic taught me to be thankful for what I have and to prioritize my health and family before everything else. Despite the uncertain environment and ambiguity,  ATF has accomplished more than we imagined, moving from strength to strength to create a robust ecosystem for assistive technology start-ups. 

There may never be a perfect run but if you are game to run and do it at the pace that feels right for you, you will achieve more than you believed possible. ATF looks forward to your support as we step into a brand new year, a year brimming with possibilities and opportunities as we strive to move the needle a bit further. Here is a compilation of all the important milestones in our journey so far! We hope to share consistent updates with you on an ongoing basis.

Let us revel in the journey rather than focussing only on the destination! Happy New Year.

Prateek Madhav

Co-Founder & CEO, ATF