How a Toronto tech entrepreneur harnessed the power of making life more accessible
TORONTO -- Maayan Ziv doesn’t have to wander far from her office in downtown Toronto to find a business she can’t visit or suddenly be stalled by a step or a door without a push button.
But the 29-year-old is turning around these experiences. She’s a tech entrepreneur, who lives with muscular dystrophy.
“Living with a disability means that you’re constantly having to be creative. I have to think about all the gaps in the sidewalks, and all the missing elevators, and all the inaccessible things that could go wrong,” Ziv said in an interview with CTV News Toronto Friday.
Constantly doing that type of problem solving led Ziv to start Access Now, an app mapping accessible and inaccessible spaces with the help of user reviews.
More than five years in, Ziv has secured investors like Microsoft and government funding. The app now helps people find inclusive spaces and is opening opportunities for companies in 34 countries.
“Accessibility is a competitive advantage. When you create an accessible space, you open your doors to upwards of 20 per cent of the population,” Ziv said.
“Lean in to the power of accessibility as opposed to the compliance and annoyance that people often associate with it today.”
Ziv says who she is has worked as an advantage.
“Often when you’re the only one in the room with expertise on accessibility lets say, people hopefully acknowledge (that),” Ziv said.
“Sometimes you have to fight for that space, but once it’s given, I’ve been feeling pretty lucky to have the opportunity to raise my voice.”