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Launched in 2014 by journalist Sean Baker, Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

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Introducing: The Assistive Tech Challenge

Introducing: The Assistive Tech Challenge

The Assistive Tech Challenge is a pitch competition presented by Destination Medical Center’s Discovery Square in collaboration with The Arc Minnesota Southeast Region and the disABILITY Mayo Clinic Employee Resource Group to facilitate greater independence for individuals with disabilities and the daily challenges they face. The Challenge is also intended to strengthen their ability to live more independently and help reduce the direct support workforce crisis confronting communities in the region and across the United States.

Saturday, November 3, 2018 at the Assistive Technology Expo

Heintz Center, Rochester, Minnesota

Expo Hours: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Assistive Tech Challenge Pitch Competition: Noon – 3:30 p.m.

The Assistive Tech Challenge seeks solutions to:

  • Alleviating barriers to employment;

  • Reducing the need for and/or easing the demands of direct support on care providers;

  • Developing social skills that better enable people with and without disabilities to interact and cultivate meaningful relationships; and

  • Improving access to the community through public infrastructure.

Who can participate:

Anyone interested in forming a team and developing innovative Assistive Technology solutions that would allow people with visible and invisible disabilities to live more independently, engage in productive employment, and participate in community life.

There are two divisions:

Open (community-based teams and students)

Professional (corporations formed with annual revenues not exceeding $250,000)  

Innovations in both personal technology and the public realm/public infrastructure will be encouraged. Teams will be asked to address the following questions in a five-minute presentation to an expert panel of judges, followed by three minutes of Q&A:

  • What problem are you solving?

  • How are you solving the problem?

  • Why is your team the one to solve it?

  • What do you need to develop a minimally viable product (MVP)?

$15,000 will be awarded by The Arc Minnesota to the first and second place winners in each division to further advance their idea.

First Prize: $5,000

Second Prize: $2,500

All first and second place teams will be eligible to participate in the Walleye Tank pitch competition in Rochester, MN on December 7, 2018.

All teams must submit an application to Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency by October 19, 2018. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

For more information, check out the Frequently Asked Questions. (FAQs) or attend an orientation session.

Orientation sessions will help you learn more about the Assistive Tech Challenge, connect with disability subject matter experts and with others, and explore your area of highest interest in developing a new product or service. We hope you will arrive curious – and leave inspired. Register using the links below:

Assistive Tech Challenge Orientation Session #1 – September 13, 2018 from 5-6:30 p.m. at the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator in downtown Rochester, Minnesota

Assistive Tech Challenge Orientation Session #2 – September 14, 2018 from 2-4 p.m. at the Microsoft Store in the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota

Additional questions can be sent to info@dmc.mn. Include AT Challenge in the subject line.

Published in partnership with Destination Medical Center

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