Whi le 250,000 Austral ians are diagnosed wi th aut ism, less than hal f have ever worked, but Profound is l ikely to change these stat ist ics by providing talented neurodiverse adul ts wi th the guidance and mentor ing they requi re to start up thei r own business ventures. Theresa Kidd, Clinical Psychologist & Autism Educator & Consultant
Over the course of the last year, Wrays has been a proud partner of ProFound; a truly unique Perth-based incubator offering neurodiverse individuals a pathway to develop and launch digital products with commercial market fit. Through support and education tailored to each individual, the program provides participants with the right mix of industry skills and networking opportunities to develop their ideas into viable business ventures.
We caught up with the Founders of ProFound Incubator, Johnny Doan and Stuart Kidd, to reflect on the last 12-months and find out more about the first cohort of participants to pass through the program. Helen: Lets go back to the start. Can you explain to our readers who might not have come across the term ‘neurodiversity’ before, what it refers to? Johnny: Neurodiversity is a term that covers a range of neurological differences and conditions that people may be living with. These could include autism, ADHD, bipolar, Tourette’s syndrome, dyslexia, dyspraxia - all of which come with a range of challenges in day to day living, but can also come with some really amazing strengths depending on the environment, and how the individual is nurtured. It’s really an advocacy term. When we talk about the neurodiverse community, we’re talking about the celebration and acceptance of neuro- atypical people, and how we can build a more inclusive world; whether it’s in decision making, employment or in society as a whole.
Helen: And how did you come up with the concept for ProFound Incubator? Stuart: Inspired by neurodiverse family members, the program came from an idea to create an opportunity for similar individuals to have their own, or be part of a startup, rather than going down the often long road of being a software tester. Most of the opportunities in this industry for people who are neurodiverse are around software testing, especially for those on the autism spectrum. I wanted to provide a more creative journey for them, where they can actually be part of something more special, something that belongs to them. Backed by Apps People, an award- winning app development company, we were one of the recipients of the X-TEND WA state grant. This is a competitive grant program delivered by the New Industries Fund, which supports organisations that deliver innovative education programs that support the development of entrepreneurs. Thanks to this grant, alongside funding from sponsors including Wrays, we were able to kick- start the program, making the idea a reality.
PROFOUND INCUBATOR Nur tur i ng Neurod i ver se Ent repreneur s