It all began when Professor Dr. Lin Chong-Wey saw his energetic grandmother become more isolated as she grew older and became less mobile. Furthermore, he found out that this was a common trend among senior citizens who lived in Taiwan.
Because of this, he founded OurCityLove, a social enterprise to solve accessibility issues with technology, in 2014. Staff collect accessibility information from restaurants and create a suite of apps and websites to allow less mobile citizens to plan visits to accommodating venues. The social enterprise also certifies accessible restaurants, and provides training and consultancy services to help organisations that serve the public to improve their accessibility infrastructure.
OurCityLove won the jury prize, as well as $30,000, in the DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia 2016, an Asia-wide competition for social ventures. Since then, OurCityLove has launched a new online platform – Friendly Hotel that expands the idea to accessible hotels.
With its newly launched “Friendly Hotel” website, Dr. Lin hopes to continue his mission of creating an inclusive, convenient and friendly environment and encourage more people with disabilities and seniors to explore new places more confidently.
More than just the impact from an online directory, OurCityLove is creating unique career opportunities for people with disabilities. In fact, OurCityLove has hired over 400 people with disabilities as part-time staff to work as “friendly surveyors”. They have assessed more than 3000 facilities and their services, providing feedback on ways to improve their services and create a more inclusive environment.
OurCityLove is an example of a social enterprise that fosters multi-stakeholder collaboration for exponential impact. According to Dr. Lin, social enterprise has to go beyond solving social problems with business approaches to creating a new social framework.
The DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia is an Asia-wide competition for social enterprises organised by NUS Enterprise in partnership with the DBS Foundation. This competition identifies and supports innovative social enterprises that have the potential to generate positive, scalable and sustainable social impact. The 2017 edition of the Challenge is now open for applications till 14th May 2017.
Featured image source: OurCityLove Facebook Page