Finalist category: Accessibility Award
Accessibility Award, Finalist, 2020
Present Pal, by Estendio, is building life changing accessible technology for the one billion people across the world with disabilities. Our story begins with our founder, Chris. Diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of 12, Chris had always struggled with presentation anxiety. Upon realising his dream of studying Business at the University of Strathclyde, Chris realised he had to give weekly presentations. After struggling with this for months, he sought help from the student disability services and quickly realised that there was absolutely no support for presentation anxiety. He felt let down when he was told that his reasonable accommodations consisted of either skipping his presentations or recording them ahead of time and hitting play for the class. Presentations were a core part of his course and Chris was left feeling at a disadvantage, questioning how he could ever learn this valuable skill. He couldn’t let this happen, yet after more extensive research, he still found nothing so he came up with an innovative solution; accessible presentation software to alleviate presentation anxiety.
Since launching the app Present Pal in September 2018, the team is now supporting over 3,000 students with dyslexia, autism and anxiety, in over 100 universities, colleges, and workplaces across the UK. Leading Microsoft Accessibility Evangelist, Hector Minto, describes Present Pal as ‘the perfect sidekick to PowerPoint.’
Present Pal makes the world a better place by giving everyone a voice and giving individuals with disabilities the same opportunities and experiences that everyone else is offered during their education and career. Presenting is an essential skill in life, whether for a university presentation, a job interview or even reporting to a team meeting, it is a skill that everyone needs to have and should be given the opportunity to learn.