Innovate Springfield's Business Incubation Program was created to support the economic development of our community by providing capacity building and space for local entrepreneurs and startups. One by one members came, and with each new addition, a culture of innovators that value community and equality was created. Virtually all of our members contribute to a cohesive, unified, and accessible community for our city in one way or another. They demonstrate that even early-stage companies can make social responsibility a component of their business model. Whether it's through a commitment to working with organizations that employ disabled individuals, through donating time and resources, or through their technologies themselves, iSPI members strive to be the change we all want for our community and world.
Rasha Said, Sensible Innovations
Born of her experience with raising a child with a visual impairment, Rasha Said's AWARE app uses iBeacon technology to audibly relay way-finding information with turn by turn navigation. The app does more than provide directions; it empowers individuals who are visually impaired to explore the world without limits.
Ultimately, Sensible Innovations envisions a world where the visually impaired get the same information that sighted people get when visiting places, to support their curiosity and courage to explore and enjoy their surroundings more independently.
The AWARE app provides:
>> Real-time location-based announcements
>> Detailed location descriptions
>> Audio turn-by-turn navigation
The AWARE app empowers users to:
>> Shop independently at local businesses
>> Grocery Shop
>> Visit Tourist Attractions
>> Navigate Schools and Universities
>> Manage Airport Terminals
Interested in using the AWARE technology in your space? Follow this link to request a quote.
Daniel + Theresa Olsen, Ability Marketplace
The mission of Ability Marketplace is to create jobs for people with disabilities, and to provide the support needed for them to maintain employment, prosper and lead productive lives.
Ability Marketplace is an e-commerce site for individuals who are disabled to sell their products and find opportunity.
Ability Marketplace provides:
>> Unique products and services to purchase and the stories of their creators.
>> Ideas for owning a business selling products and services.
>> Supporters to help you launch a business or land a job.
>> Employers who want to hire people with unique challenges and stories about programs that are making it happen.
>> Advisors who can explain how to maintain government benefits while working and planning for the future.
>> Information about the ABLE Act and trusts.
>> Examples of people with disabilities running restaurants, communications firms and other brick-and-mortar businesses.
>> Ways you can help to lower the unemployment rate among people with disabilities (currently more than 70 percent nationwide).
Know someone who might want to have their products and services housed on Ability Marketplace? Follow this link to contact Daniel and Theresa Olsen.
McKenzie Smith, INorupt
A Social Worker by trade, McKenzie Smith, the Founder of INorupt is passionately committed to uplifting human and societal conditions, as well as amplifying social capital by bridging social services and technology. INorupt is focused on supporting the social service sector in leveraging technology to help obliterate many of the issues that affect our most vulnerable populations.
In addition to acting as a resource hub for social service technologies, INorupt offers consulting services to take the guesswork out of implementing new technologies and streamlining new processes.
INorupt currently provides technology focused resources for the following social service industries:
>> Adoption Services >> Assisted Living
>> Behavioral Health >> Domestic Violence
>> Foster Care >> Government
>> Juvenile Justice >> Mental Health
>> Residential Shelters >> Veterans and more...
Interested in learning more about INorupt? Follow this link to contact McKenzie Smith.
SMASHTOAST SERIOUS Lip Balm
These two companies are passionate about sourcing and building their products locally, and both utilize Elm City Center for the production and packaging of their respective products. Elm City is a community-based organization that provides work, vocational, residential and social services to people with disabilities, empowering them to remain independent. SMASHTOAST and SERIOUS Lip Balm decided to engage with Elm City because each company is committed to enriching and giving back to the community that they live, work, and play in.
If you happen to be in the market for some amazing lip balm (who isn't?!), you need to check out SERIOUS Products. If you're totally sick of the 'honey, where's the remote" conversation (who isn't?!), you need to check out the PUCK >> and you can do so knowing that your investment is supporting a local company with a [super] strong community focus.
We've got a long list of members who weren't highlighted here, but who regularly dedicate their time, their talents and their financial support to our community. As a community-focused organization, we make these opportunities convenient for our members by collecting items for a local nonprofit each month.
Since instituting iSPI Gives, we've hosted a school supply drive for Catholic Charities, a diaper drive for the Parent Place, a food drive for the Central Illinois Food Bank, and are currently collecting children's books for the Matthew Project.
Practicing What We Preach:
United Way Day of Action
We're genuinely inspired by the community focused work that our members are doing, and greatly value the work of our Social Innovation partners United Way of Central Illinois. Obviously want to get in on the action, so iSPI has created a team for United Way's Spring 2018 Day of Action! We’re excited for iSPI staff and members to volunteer together on May 5th along with hundreds of others mobilized by United Way.
Want to start a team of your own? Follow this link to learn more by visiting United Way’s Get Connected database.