The next startup to join the Booster Lab in Tel Aviv is Paratrek, who offers solutions for adventure travellers with disabilities, be it certain trails or even specially designed equipment suited to different disabilities.
We spoke to Omer Zur, CEO of Paratrek, about his business and what they’ve achieved to date. Read on to see what he said.
What triggered you to start your business?
Paratrek was founded to promote inclusion. We see the right to go out to nature and experience it with all of its power as a basic right everyone should have. Nature heals. It gives you the opportunity to meet yourself and others in very sensitive places and grow from them. We offer tailor-made trips with suitable support to provide this opportunity to people with disabilities. We create a mixed group of people with and without disabilities. Then we get to know their dreams, abilities, and disabilities and offer the right trail for each and every one of them, as well as a suitable assistive devices that will answer their needs. It can be a Trekker - a special wheelchair for difficult terrain that we designed for trekking, or special harness for rock climbing for people who are amputees, and more. Every person should be able to go outdoors with the people he or she loves - if it's family, friends, class or other.
What does your startup do?
We offer tailor-made trips with suitable, self-designed assistive devices and methodology. Every disability needs a different solution. We create those solutions. But there is much more than just the physical solution. As mentioned before, going out to nature for a person with a disability is not something easy, it's a full operation. He has to have someone he can trust. There must be a way to make him feel safe and not less important. He must feel part of the trip rather than a burden on someone else. To solve that, over the last 3 years we developed a methodology - The Paratrek technique that will help people to achieve their dreams of climbing mountains and get to new heights!
What is the impact of your product or service on the travel industry?
The social impact is great. Today we see that students or workers cannot take part in hiking trips with their classmates/co-workers, which leads to isolation and depression. This too, strengthens the prejudice opinion that people with disabilities can not take part in all activities and can not be fully included. Once we began offering people with disabilities the chance to fully take part in hiking activities, the social connections began to thrive, people started to open up and the disabled began strengthening their self-confidence. In a macro level, we are actively contributing to a desirable change in perception, by offering unique solutions that increase participation and equality in our society. People with a disability now feel part of the community they belong to.
What recent milestones are you most proud of?
This last October Paratrek had its second project with the "One Family Fund" organisation - a fund for victims of terror attacks. We're going to have a third one in the upcoming October - bringing 90 fundraisers from Canada who hike through Israel for 5 days with the victims of terror. We've sold Via-Feratta trips for 2 groups of 5 and 10 people to the French Riviera in 2017, and to Italy and Switzerland in 2018. We've sold trips and activities to the Ministry of Education in different schools around the country and different ages. We work with youth movements such as the "Boy-Scouts". We had a very successful pilot with ALIN- rehab hospital. In October 2016 we took part in a delegation for NSW Australia as part of the Spark festival (Funded by the AICC and NSW government), and started working on mission exchange between Australia and Israel.
Only a few more days until we kick off our programme - Tomorrow and Monday we’ll introduce the final two startups and of course, during the programme, we’ll keep you updated.