Start Access

Start Access convenes and connects diverse stakeholders in order to empower entrepreneurs with disabilities and to celebrate disability-led technology innovation that promotes equal opportunity, economic power, independent living, and political participation of disabled people.


Looking towards the future and states where Start Access wants to be in a certain number of years.

Entrepreneurs with disabilities increasingly participate in the startup ecosystem and are represented in a variety of roles 一 i.e. founders, leadership, advisory panels/boards 一 enabled by inclusive hiring practices, accessible collaboration spaces/tools/technology infrastructures, enabling benefits and compensation policies, and startup capital mechanisms.

Startup studios incorporate inclusive design and invest in companies led and supported by disabled entrepreneurs. This could help entrepreneurs navigate barriers unique to the disability community, compress time, iterate quickly, and scale more ambitiously than would otherwise be possible.

Disability-led startups play an active role in addressing emerging technology challenges to help ensure the inclusion of people with disabilities. These include areas like AI fairness and equitable outcomes in technologies used in hiring, employment, and workplace participation.

Disability-led startups play a role in responding to economic and workforce trends like hybrid workplace talent acquisition, employee development, and automation. Align to government priorities related to employment, commerce, and other focus areas.

Our Values

The behaviors that will guide participants as we pursue our vision include:

lightbulb icon next to words "start access"
  1. Build with not for 一 Be rooted in the disability community and ensure that people with disabilities are involved at all levels of the initiative.
  2. Innovate through inclusive design 一 Promote inclusive design practices to help startups and entrepreneurs build “born accessible” solutions that provide economic and social value.
  3. Create inclusive spaces 一 Advocate for inclusive physical and virtual spaces and events that can enable co-design with and maximum participation by disabled people.
  4. Spur action through insights 一 Create, consolidate and share insights, guidance, and other resources from people with disabilities and allies to advance knowledge and spur action.
  5. Enable champions and allies 一 Actively identify and support people in different stakeholder groups who can serve as champions and allies for Start Access, to help it realize its vision.
  6. Make change easier 一 Develop easy-to-adopt resources, processes, and tailored approaches to help make incremental adoption of inclusive design easier in the startup ecosystem.
  7. Advance opportunity-based policies 一 Advance public policies related to startups and emerging technology that are opportunity-based, not just needs-based.


  • Startup Founders, Entrepreneurs & Companies
  • Disability Advocates
  • Government
  • Non-Profit Social Enterprises
  • Inclusion & Inclusive Design Consultants
  • Incubators
  • Investors
  • Platform Tech Companies
  • Researchers
Male and female professionals discussing in board room. Disabled businesswoman communicating with coworkers in meeting. They are at office.

Our Focus

Currently, Start Access has two focuses, AI Fairness in HR Tech and Inclusion Stories.

AI Fairness in HR Tech

AI-enabled hiring technologies are increasingly used in talent acquisition to source, screen, onboarding, and train employees, particularly as companies move rapidly to virtual spheres which will endure post-pandemic. Their growing use presents both opportunities and obstacles for people with disabilities (people with disabilities), who already face a significant employment gap. AI-enabled tools are currently used to make the application process more accessible and efficient for potential employees with disabilities. However, they may also inherently discriminate against people with disabilities. Our initial efforts will focus on engaging startups developing these tools and exploring solutions such as inclusive development teams/co-design, inclusive datasets, machine learning (ML)/algorithmic fairness tools and techniques, and transparency/accountability practices.

Inclusion Stories

Start Access is revitalizing our Inclusion Stories focus, where we aim to curate and create stories of people with disabilities working in startups and innovation circles, focusing on AI HR/Hiring Tech.

Additional Resources

  • EEOC guidance – Americans with Disabilities Act and the Use of Software, Algorithms, and Artificial Intelligence to Assess Job Applicants and Employees
  • DOJ guidance – Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Disability Discrimination in Hiring