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AccessNow logo

Project Team Members: Maayan Ziv, Jason Matthews, Devon Ostrom, Brad Brohman

AccessNow is a grassroots, community-driven social enterprise focused on creating a more accessible world. Our mobile app and web platform collects and shares user-generated reviews regarding the accessibility of places worldwide, empowering people of all abilities to find access now.

How does your project remove barriers for people with disabilities and/or aging populations?

AccessNow is designed to empower one billion people living with disabilities globally to live more independently by providing current and reliable information on the accessibility status of places. Sometimes referred to as the “Yelp of accessibility,” AccessNow is becoming the global gateway for empowering people with disabilities to participate in the economy. Users can search for specific locations such as a restaurant, hotel, or office, or browse to discover new accessible places. If information is not already available on the AccessNow map, users can add information, contributing to our global community of engaged citizens.

Where did the idea for your project come from?

AccessNow was developed out of research that founder Maayan Ziv conducted during her graduate studies at Ryerson University. Based on her own frustration in navigating inaccessible spaces as a person with lived experience of disability, Maayan was inspired to solve her own problem. Her initial research focused on tackling a large gap in the market that fails to address the needs of people living with disabilities. Ninety percent of the people she interviewed identified what she herself was experiencing as someone living with a disability: difficulty finding reliable sources of accessibility information.

What are the goals and objectives of your project?

AccessNow is on a mission to build the world’s first comprehensive accessibility resource. Our goal is to collect and share as much accessibility information about places and experiences as possible in order to empower people around the globe to realize truly accessible lifestyles.

Who is the target audience for your project?

AccessNow believes that accessibility benefits everyone. With that in mind, our focus is to create a more accessible world with and for people with disabilities.

Today, 17 percent of Canadians live with disability. As our population ages, the number of people with disabilities is expected to increase to 1 in 5 over the next 20 years. In Ontario alone, it is estimated that people with disabilities account for $25 billion in annual spending.

Further, factoring in family, friends, and caregivers who accompany people with disabilities, the number of people who benefit from accessibility climbs significantly – for example, 63 percent of the population in Ontario. Information about accessible places is also of great benefit to parents with strollers, shopping carts, people experiencing temporary injuries, and the like.

What did you and your team gain from being involved in the Accessibility Project?

Being involved in the Accessibility Project gave us the advantage of connecting to a vibrant network of accessibility enthusiasts and entrepreneurs. Funding from this project helped us reach technical new milestones we are proud to showcase today.

What are your future plans for your project?

Future plans for AccessNow include expanding our community building efforts across Canada and internationally – collaborating with student groups, corporations, and disability-related organizations to grow our movement to new cities around the world.