Inclusiveness for the hearing impaired at the Global Startup Weekend

Inclusiveness for the hearing impaired at the Global Startup Weekend

Posted by P. Charitha on November 10th 2017

“For aspiring deaf entrepreneurs, there’s never been a better time to start a business, so what’s stopping you?”
This is what Global Startup Weekend organiser, Steven Rodriguez asked when talking about the Global Startup Weekend  program  to be held in D.C.This is also slated to be the largest deaf-inclusive Startup Weekend in the world.
Global Startup Weekend  is a weekend program which  connects entrepreneurs, organizing teams, and startup communities around the world. The network by Techstars, is a Colorado-based company aiming to be part mentor, part incubator, and part VC for start-ups. The event will take place at Gallaudet University in  Washington D.C. from November 10th to to 19th, 2017 with a series of weekend programs.  This time the edition also includes a special focus for deaf participants have a seat at the table.
Last year the Global Start-up Weekend became a bilingual affair with 22 percent of their participants being deaf after organizers worked with D.C. government and Gallaudet University to sponsor interpreters. The same team behind the event is bringing back the program to continue the endeavour to include more deaf entrepreneurs.
A total of 27 participants will be attending the program and sign language interpreters, will help the deaf and hearing participants work together and develop start-up ideas throughout the weekend. 
They get to practice pitching concepts, get mentored by local start-up founders and then work in teams to develop their ideas and present to a panel of judges on Sunday. Apart from prizes they winners will also get free marketing coaching, legal counseling and coworking access.
Rodriguez, who is a full stack marketer and is hearing impaired, previously worked for the National Disability Rights Network and the U.S. International Council on Disabilities. Before partnering with Gallaudet University last year, Rodriguez also founded the Disability Startup Network.
“People who are deaf and hard of hearing have the same ambition and ability to be business owners, and can help view things from a different perspective, often unique to them,” said Rodriguez. “They have this perseverance to overcome barriers to communication and the stereotypes about what deaf people are capable of. We can learn a lot from each other and magnify our success working together.” Source :


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