By Karen Peattie

AN Edinburgh-based tech firm which has developed an app to improve interactions between customer-facing staff and disabled people is the Scotland winner of the Super Connect for Good competition, which recognises emerging start-ups that aim to bring positive social change and enhance people’s lives through technology.

The “Welcome” app developed by Neatebox, founded by former guide dog mobility instructor Gavin Neate, allows users to notify venues ahead of their arrival and request additional support.

Location-aware technology on a smartphone triggers a notification to a nearby participating venue which is informed about how to best serve an approaching disabled customer. The information provided through the app – said to be the only service of its type in the world – includes a picture of the customer, information about their disability that they wish to be known, tips on how to interact, and links to helpful organisations, charities and resources.

Neatebox is one of eight regional winners across the UK and Ireland in the competition, run by global recruitment firm Hays and Empact Ventures which supports tech start-ups, scale-ups and high-growth SMEs. Neatebox also won the national healthtech award in the competition.

“The entire team at Neatebox has worked tirelessly to bring into existence Welcome, a product which will truly revolutionise the way in which society interacts with its disabled members,” said Mr Neate.

“To be recognised at any time is fantastic but to represent your country in the Super Connect for Good competition with a product that will fundamentally help millions during a time of incredible disruption is a source of pride for us all.”

Launched in 2018, the app currently has over 70 participating venues across the UK and Ireland including Royal Bank of Scotland, Deloitte and the Scottish Government.

Justin Black, director at Hays Scotland, pointed to the cross-section of applicants. “It was great to see so many innovative ideas and how Scottish start-ups are focusing on solving big issues in society and the environment by leveraging technology,” he noted.