Access Ability Australia founders Maxine Parker and Judy O’Connor first worked together in the educational sector on a children’s additional learning program a few years back.
Throughout the working day they would often find themselves discussing the challenges their students, and their families, would face getting out into the community.
These challenges were experienced first-hand in their personal lives as well, with both having family members with a disability.
Their insights and thinking saw them develop a unique educational tool called an Access Key. Designed to help people with disabilities feel comfortable and at ease visiting public venues, Access Keys are downloadable toolkits that inform users how to access a building or venue through maps, communication boards and also key sensory information (e.g. what sounds you are likely to hear on your visit).
Access Keys are promoted within the venue and are also available for planning a visit through free downloads on the Access Ability Australia website.
Initially intended for the disability sector, the audience has since grown and the tool is now proving valuable in assisting children on the autism spectrum, the elderly, and people who struggle to leave the house due to depression, anxiety or recall issues, with the planning tool helping them feel confident and comfortable visiting venues.
Starting the business from their homes, Maxine and Judy quickly recognised their venture required office space. They were drawn to the City of Monash not only because of its easy access to the CBD, but also because of the easy access it provides to their own clients located all over Greater Melbourne.
Not wanting to lock into a long-term office contract they explored communal working spaces around Melbourne and found that the City of Monash’s Eastern Innovation (EI) was an attractive solution.
Access Ability Australia continues to grow, and Maxine and Judy are big fans of the office set-up at EI, the access to training and meeting rooms and the plentiful parking the venue provides. Most importantly they rave about their co-tenants and the local startup community being very personable, supportive, vibrant, and genuinely collaborative – a true eco-system.