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Project Nemo Rises

On 7 May 2024, Project Nemo held its launch event at the Barclays Rise hub in Shoreditch, London, a central location for the FinTech industry. Despite widespread rail strikes threatening attendance, the event was a success, attracting a full house of supporters from the FinTech industry, the disabled community, and Parliament.

Check out the launch video here:

Joanne Dewar and Kris Foster, co-founders of Project Nemo, delivered opening speeches that highlighted the importance of the project for both individuals and organisations. They revealed that the inspiration for Project Nemo stems from Joanne’s experience as the former CEO of GPS (now Thredd), where she witnessed the impact of hiring Kris, who has Down Syndrome and Autism. Kris shared a moving insight from his lived experience, stating, “People speak for us, about us, or in front of us and it’s never our voice. Today I can turn around and say that’s not true, this is our voice.” This message emphasised Project Nemo’s mission: to ensure disabled voices are heard, their needs understood, and their talents recognised as valuable assets to both business and society.

The event continued with an open floor, where attendees shared their stories. Notable contributions included:

  • Dr Shani Dhanda, recognised as Britain’s most influential person with a disability in 2023, emphasised that disabilities are often exacerbated by societal barriers and biases rather than the conditions themselves. She posed the thought-provoking question, “What side of the coin do you want to be on? Do you want to be on the inclusionary side or the exclusionary side?”
  • Ryan Curtis-Johnson, CCO of the Valuable 500, discussed the responsibility of creating an inclusive world for future generations, particularly from the perspective of a neurodivergent person and parent.
  • Tony Holness shared the story of his son, Sam, the first openly autistic triathlete to complete the Ironman World Championships. Tony highlighted the importance of hope and belief in achieving one’s goals.
  • Suresh Vaghijiani, CEO of CLOWD9, stressed that disability inclusion should be integrated into the FinTech industry from the development stages of products and services to ensure true accessibility.
  • Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, praised Project Nemo for its role in helping talented individuals enter the workforce and emphasised the need for appropriate support to facilitate this inclusion.

The stories shared at the event demonstrated the connection between FinTech and disability, stressing the necessity of Project Nemo’s mission to bridge these two worlds. The evening concluded with lively discussions, networking, and a shared commitment to advancing disability inclusion within the industry.

We are excited to announce that Project Nemo will continue its mission with the Festival of Inclusion on 29 May 2024, at Level 39, London, featuring the first workshop, ‘Doing Disability Inclusion Right’. We look forward to seeing you there!