Access Earth Irish Start-Up goes live
Access Earth to change the lives of people with disabilities, for the travel, food and hotel industries.
Matt McCann went to London hearing all the great stories from his friends of the people and the areas to visit etc. Upon arrival, his hotel that he booked was not exactly adequate.
People search for best location and best price, but Matt also needed a hotel he was able to easily access. Matt has cerebral palsy and requires a walker to get around and he thought he had found a place that seemed to meet his needs. The hotel had marked themselves as accessible, but it was only until Matt arrived at his destination that it was anything but.
Firstly, there was 3 steps up to the entrance, meaning anyone with a wheelchair or walker could not access the building easily or at all. After overcoming this hurdle, Matt then had to compete with fitting his walker through his hotel room door. Getting to his bed, he asked himself, how can they call themselves accessible.
Matt McCann is an Irish graduate from the National University of Ireland Maynooth (NUIM), and he has decided to help people just like him from encountering these issues. He went on to create his start-up Access Earth, a web platform and app that crowdsources data on accessible buildings and locations to help people with disabilities.
In cities like Dublin and London with their older architecture, accessibility is not always up to scratch, with listed buildings and cobblestone roads. Business owners might not think it’s much of a problem, that people with disabilities only represent a very minor part of their potential Customers, but just a couple of steps is like a mountain to climb and it completely excludes the parts of the population with physical disabilities.
With Access Earth, McCann and his colleague Ryan O’Neill (business development) have setup a start-up and they want to build a global user-generated platform for users to add and search for data on accessibility in hotels, restaurants, theaters, stadiums and other businesses.
Users could plan out a trip in their city by checking if the store they’re going to has a ramp, or if a nearby café has a wide door for wheelchairs or an accessible bathroom. It’s about changing the way we look at the world by helping those to overcome the struggles they face every day in life.