Tech giants keeping a close eye on disability app Snowball

An app which helps people find accessible venues, restaurants, bars and other businesses is going from strength to strength with reviews coming in from around the world.

Simon Sansome main

Snowball allows users to rate and review businesses based on their accessibility for individuals with disabilities. Its success has not gone unnoticed, and the company has had discussions with major tech giants, including Google and Microsoft. These companies are interested in Snowball's work and helping to promote accessibility for individuals with disabilities.

This support would be a major boost for Snowball, as it would provide access to resources and expertise that could help it to expand and reach even more people. Founder, entrepreneur Simon Sansome is aiming to reach 200,000 reviews through the app which is available free on Apple and Android.  

He said: "Snowball is quite simply TripAdvisor for the disabled community. It helps people access their own communities, plan days out and give confidence to get out and socialise with ease."

This week, Simon - who is part of DMU's business incubation programme Crucible - will be pitching Snowball at this year’s Real Entrepreneurs Awards, which celebrate those who have started their own businesses, invented a new product, successfully collaborated with others, or grown their business significantly.

He is one of the up-and-coming entrepreneurs invited to take part in a ‘Pitching Platform’ where one lucky pitcher will receive a non-executive board of directors for the year among many more benefits.  

Disabled people can face a range of access issues when visiting restaurants, bars or other venues including limited seating options, too-high tables, narrow corridors, no lifts, poor lighting or sound, and lack of accessible parking and toilets.

The Snowball app is designed to help individuals with disabilities find businesses that are accessible to them. The app allows users to rate businesses and the information shared to other users, who can use it to make informed decisions about where to shop, eat, or socialise.

One user wrote:  “I have had so many experiences of showing up at hotels, restaurants, shops or other venues and not being able to get inside or get around, even after doing my research and being reassured it will be accessible. It’s a major frustration in so many disabled peoples lives that simple access is not provided in so many places.  

“With the Snowball app, I can now reliably be informed of a building’s accessible features, as for the first time, disabled people are reviewing them! It’s so simple, and yet saves so much time and frustration, as I’m now able to know what to expect before I arrive, prepare in advance and leave my own experiences and advice for other Snowball users. Best of all, it’s all in my pocket, making it quick and easy to access- just about the only part of a disabled persons life that is quick and easy!”

One US user wrote: “Accessible travel and apps like these are just good business practices for everyone and yet enhances the experience for the disability community."

Posted on Thursday 4 May 2023

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