Perkins and MassChallenge Encourage Innovations for People with Disabilities

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Assistive Technology Prize Aims to Stimulate Innovation – Early Bird deadline is March 6

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‘Joining with MassChallenge is a natural for us,’ says Perkins President Steven Rothstein. MassChallenge is the world’s largest accelerator program and startup competition. Entrants receive a $100 entry fee refund before March 6.

The Perkins Assistive Technology Prize provides $25,000 in incentive grants to entrepreneurs who focus on improving opportunities and quality of life for people with disabilities as part of MassChallenge 2013. Perkins is offering the grants, drawn from a donation earmarked for technological solutions, to promote their global mission to empower individuals with disabilities to reach their personal potential.

Applicants to MassChallenge, the world’s largest accelerator program and startup competition, receive a $100 refund against the $199 entry fee when they apply by this noon (EST) Wednesday, March 6, 2013. All entries are due by April 3, 2013.

Founded in 1829 as the first school for the blind in the United States, the Perkins now touches the lives of more than 600,000 individuals in 67 countries – far beyond the historic Watertown, Massachusetts, campus. Notably, MassChallenge draws entrants from around the world and has gone global this year.

Administered through MassChallenge, Perkins Assistive Technology Prize encourages the development of new, low- and high-technology devices or software that could significantly enhance the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. Such assistive technology could apply to any sector of life (education, transportation, recreation, communications, vocational, etc.). The designed could address a certain group of individuals with a disability (vision loss, hearing loss, mobility, etc.), or have a more universal market application. Details and application at

“Joining with MassChallenge is a natural for us,” says Perkins President Steven Rothstein. “It’s in everyone’s interest to urge entrepreneurs to consider accessibility because better access for people with disabilities means better access for all.” Perkins has a 184-year history of innovation in educating people who are blind or deafblind.

Assistive technology allows people with disabilities to be productive workers, to process information, and to put their ideas into action. Innovation can be applied in countless ways to provide mobility for people with physical disabilities, communication access for those with hearing or vision loss, and adaptations we have yet to imagine. Together, Perkins and MassChallenge can put entrepreneurs’ imaginations in motion to find new ways to leap over disability to productivity and independence.

Perkins provides education, services and products to people who are blind, deafblind, or visually impaired with other disabilities, to build more productive and meaningful lives. Perkins pursues this mission both locally and globally. Founded in 1829, Perkins reaches more than a half million people each year in 67 countries around the world. The organization advances its mission through its various divisions: School for the Blind, International, Library, eLearning, and Products. Learn more at

MassChallenge is the largest-ever startup accelerator and competition, and the first to support high-impact, early-stage entrepreneurs with no strings attached.

Benefits for startups include:

:: Four-month accelerator program. World-class mentorship and training, free office space, access to funding, legal advice, cofounders, media exposure and more.
:: Over $1M in Cash Awards. $10M+ in-kind support.
:: Open to all. Any early-stage startup can enter, from anywhere in the world, in any industry.
:: No equity taken. No restrictions applied.

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Marilyn Beyer

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