Ones to Watch: Access Earth, removing barriers to travel for those with accessibility needs

Business, Ones to Watch | Fri 16 Aug | Author – Business & Finance
Access Earth team

In our Ones to Watch section, we highlight some of the top up and coming businesses in Ireland. This week we feature Access Earth.

What is it?

Access Earth is the TripAdvisor for people with accessibility needs. We aim to create a centralised database for the world’s accessibility information. Doing this will enable people to easily see where they can stay, eat, shop and experience that suits their individual needs – if they require a step-free entrance, wheelchair accessible bathrooms, etc.

This is a global mission to remove the barriers for the 1 in 6 people who require accessibility information and enable them to explore more on a local and global level. Aggregating this data will aid large organisations and government bodies to understand the necessary changes and developments that are needed to appeal to their constituents.

Who’s behind it?

Access Earth was set up by Matthew McCann in 2014, who has cerebral palsy and realised the need for reliable and convenient accessibility information when travelling. Matthew often found himself arriving at his planned destination only to find that he couldn’t fit his rollator through the door or even manoeuvre around the vicinity.

Thus, he put his computer science background to good use, and developed a platform that would enable people who had accessibility needs to “know before they go” to the place they wanted to visit.

Access Earth has grown over the past five years with the help of COO, Dónal McClean and CPO, Ciara Moran. They have worked on Access Earth since it was a college project competing in the Enactus World Cup and Microsoft Imagine Cup.

How is it funded?

We have been supported by Enterprise Ireland through their Competitive Start Fund and with that have been able to establish a strong team and valuable piece of software.

Currently, Access Earth partner with local governments as well as organisations and their diversity and inclusion or corporate social responsibility initiatives to bring accessibility to the forefront of their efforts and engage in making a measurable impact in their community to grow this valuable database.

Future plans?

Access Earth is ready and available to download and use for free. You can add information on experiences around accessibility by just answering a few easy questions. The data is all crowd-sourced, up-to-date and verified.
The main goal is to continue to populate the world with accessibility data with a particular focus to get the main cities in Europe mapped in the next 12 months. Access Earth is currently seeking funding to achieve this and be the largest supplier of accessibility data in the world.