Project Type: Innovation

AT Impact Fund

Location: Kenya

The AT Impact Fund was established to better enable frontier technology solutions to reach people with disabilities in Africa, and to test business models that are most likely to succeed.

Assistive Technology Impact Fund is operationalised as a collaboration between GDI Hub, Brink, and Catalyst Fund, providing deep expertise in AT, innovation and venture-building in Africa respectively.

About

1 billion people globally have a disability, yet 90% lack access to affordable AT innovations which could drastically improve their quality of life. This failure is not due to a lack of products, the AT sector is steeped in innovative products that are proven to meet the needs of those with disabilities - and that is why the Assistive Technology Impact Fund (ATIF) exists.

The ATIF will facilitate the growth of the AT sector by combining grant capital with expert-led venture-building support to help AT innovators launch and scale solutions that are designed to reach populations in Africa. We are committed to supporting AT solutions that provide a significant and life-changing improvement to people with disabilities.

The Assistive Tech Impact Fund (ATIF) is changing the prospects of innovators in this space, providing up to £200k of grant funding alongside expert-led venture-building support to facilitate the growth of the AT sector in Africa.

ATIF first investment: HearX, bringing smart hearing solutions to African markets

The AT Impact Fund is delighted to announce its first investment in HearX, a company based in South Africa with hearing diagnostic products being used in 39 countries. AT Impact Fund will give them £200,000 in grant capital alongside 6 months of venture-building support.

The AT Impact Fund’s investment through UK Aid will enable HearX to be the first to provide hearing aids through a subscription model on continental Africa. It will also provide an opportunity to test alternative distribution models in South Africa and Kenya to ensure their products can be accessed by everyone, wherever they are located.

HearX’s innovative, the direct-to-consumer product makes it possible for lay-health workers to detect and diagnose hearing needs, and demonstrate how hearing aids can help, all in one sitting. Their subscription model finally makes high-quality hearing aids affordable and accessible to everyone. With the support of the AT Impact Fund, HearX will be able to widely scale-up across Kenya and other African countries where 97% of people requiring hearing aids can’t access them.

A woman wearing headphones using a smartphone
Assistive Technology Impact Fund: £4m fund trialling impact investment