AccessINFO: Commerce for AllCHALLENGE: There are 57
million Americans living with a physical disability. We make up 20% of the US
consumer market with an annual spending of more than $554 billion. There are
more than 215,000 consumers with disabilities in southwestern Pennsylvania
alone, contributing more than $2.5 billion in annual spending. This group is
made-up of people born with a disability; people disabled due to an accident;
military veterans wounded in service to our country; and a growing number of people
disabled by conditions due to aging. Unfortunately, no single source with
accurate accessibility information exists for public accommodations,
businesses, or essential services.
UNMET NEED: Hi! My name is
Madonna Long. I am the founder of AccessINFO. I have been in a wheelchair for
more than 30 years. I am just one of millions of Americans that have a physical
disability. Shopping at stores, going out to eat, and even using a public
restroom were things I took for granted before my accident. Now, every
purchasing decision I make requires that I know if the business is accessible –
ahead of time.
with disabilities have to ask ourselves numerous questions before we can make a
single purchase. As one of the largest consumer minorities in the country we
visit hundreds of locations. In almost all cases, accessibility information is
the single most important factor in selecting where we do business.
91% of buying decisions by people with disabilities are made with limited
information. They are based on personal knowledge or word-of-mouth. That is bad
for people with disabilities and bad for businesses losing out on that market.
OPPORTUNITY: An information
bridge is needed that connects people with disabilities with accessible
businesses. This led my team and me to create AccessINFO.
SOLUTION: ACCESS INFO is a
free online service that can be viewed from smartphones, PCs, and tablets. This
platform allows businesses to post their accessibility information, consumers
to post their reviews, and AccessINFO site reviewers to conduct on-site reviews
based on at least six disability perspectives. AccessINFO site reviewers will
collaborating with several national and local non-profit organizations to
launch our service. Pittsburgh is our test market. 12% of our Pittsburgh community
is people with disabilities. Our goal is
to prove the AccessINFO concept here and then expand to markets throughout the
VALUE PROPOSITION: Our service produces
benefits for people with disabilities as well as the organizations, businesses,
and public facilities serving them.
STATUS: We have spent nearly two years designing our
service with input from all quarters of our community and our technology
partner, Ground Floor Solutions. AccessINFO is a social impact organization
formed as a Pennsylvania LLC. We have the support of national, regional, and
local nonprofit organizations serving people with disabilities. We have
completed the system blueprint for our service; designed the user interface and
data base structure; obtained crucial market feedback; and have formed strategic
partnerships required for a successful launch. Most importantly, we have
incorporated the priorities and requirements of our consumers.
with disabilities can easily obtain critical and reliable accessibility
are provided an opportunity to market to a new set of consumers with
significant discretionary spending by posting their accessibility
- In the
event a business has accessibility issues, AccessINFO and our nonprofit
partners will work with them to guide the improvement process.
and balanced reviews. AccessINFO provides for multiple sources of review;
(1) standardized reviews by trained volunteers; (2) consumer reviews; and
(3) formalized assessments completed by individual businesses.
is a service designed by people with disabilities for people with disabilities.