Erika Gleeson is the Founder of Autism Swim, one of seven startups in Cohort 3 of the Remarkable Accelerator this year. We sat down with Erika to find out more about Autism Swim, what parts of the program she’s looking forward to and what she’s nervous about….
Tell us about Autism Swim. What’s the problem you’re solving for people with disability?
Drowning is the leading cause of death in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Autism Swim are water safety and swimming specialists, on a mission to facilitate change, and address the many reasons as to why the problem exists.
What inspired you to start this?
We stumbled across the hugely underreported drowning statistics, specifically that children with ASD are 160 times more likely to drown than their paediatric peers. Being that we are ASD specialists, we leapt into action and as a result, Autism Swim was born.
What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing with building Autism Swim and how do you think Remarkable can help you overcome it?
We are autism specialists who understand the problem very well, however we’re excited to work with Remarkable to come up with a more tech-focus to the organisation. Through Remarkable’s guidance and network, we look forward to reaching as many swimming instructors, families and participants as possible in order to facilitate as much change as we intend to.
What parts of the accelerator are you most looking forward to?
I’m particularly looking forward to the concentrated support which will be received through our mentors; as well as working collaboratively with the other teams in the cohort – watching them all grow and us learning from one another.
Are there any parts of the accelerator that you’re nervous about?
Regardless of how much public speaking I’ve done, I still get nervous about pitching; so I can’t say that part of it excites me, however it’s obviously one of the many necessary and very valuable evils of startup life!
Do you have any tips for startups who are trying to get on an accelerator program?
Articulate exactly what you are hoping to get out of the program, not only because you will be asked this question a lot along the journey, but because it will help you with your application. I’ve met a lot of startups that can articulate the problem they are trying to solve well, however when it comes to explaining their solution, it’s not succinct and transparent enough. Knowing how to explain your organisation (particularly the solution) effectively and efficiently, will be a constant golden ticket throughout the journey.
What is your top tool, blog, book or podcast that you recommend to others?
I’m reading a lot of change-making books right now for inspiration (e.g just finished the Fred Hollows autobiography). Enjoying Hidden Brain podcast as well as any books centred on efficiency, of which there are many great ones.
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