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Edinburgh tech start-up wins regional award for disability-aware app

Edinburgh-based NeateBox is the Scotland winner of the Super Connect for Good competition, which recognises the best emerging start-ups that aim to bring positive social change and enhance people’s lives through technology.

NeateBox has developed an app called WelcoMe which improves interactions between customer-facing staff and disabled people. Location aware technology on a smartphone will trigger a notification to a nearby participating venue which is informed about how to best serve an approaching disabled customer. The information provided through the app – the only service of its type in the world – includes a picture of the customer, information about their disability that they wish to be known, tips on how to interact and links to helpful organisations, charities and resources.

Run by Hays Scotland and Empact Ventures, Neatebox is one of eight regional competition winners across the UK and Ireland.  

Founder of Neatebox, Gavin Neate, who worked for 18 years as a mobility instructor for Guide Dogs UK, said: “The entire team at Neatebox has worked tirelessly to bring into existence WelcoMe, a product which will truly revolutionise the way in which society interacts with its disabled members. To be recognised at any time is fantastic but to represent your country in the Super Connect for Good competition with a product that will fundamentally help millions during a time of incredible disruption is a massive source of pride for us all.”

Launched in 2018, the app now has over 70 participating venues across the UK and Ireland including Royal Bank of Scotland, The Scottish Government, NatWest, Deloitte and more. Neatebox were also an ‘industry winner’ for the category ‘HealthTech – General’ in the UK national competition.

Justin Black, director at Hays Scotland and one of the judges for the competition, commented:“We had a really fantastic cross-section of applicants across Scotland. It was great to see so many innovative ideas and how Scottish start-ups are focussing on solving big issues in society and the environment by leveraging technology. It was a hard-fought battle for first place and, to be honest, all the applicants have strong businesses that are making a difference right now. Congratulations to Neatebox.“

Kosta Mavroulakis, CEO and founder, Empact Ventures, commented: “It was fantastic to receive such high-quality applications from across Scotland and we thank our regional judges from Hays, ScotlandIS, DataLab, CityFibre, The Lennox Group and SHARP Laboratories of Europe for volunteering their time. Neatebox deserves their place as the regional winner for Scotland and they are already helping to improve the lives of many disabled people through their technology for venues.”

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