In the U.S. alone, an estimated 3.6 million people over the age of 15 rely on wheelchairs to move about. Although we are a prosperous and developed nation, limited mobility serious affects our ability to lead healthy and active lives; in order to come up with new technologies to help these individuals -- and those throughout the entire world, the Toyota Mobility Foundation (TMF) has decided to team up with Babson College, a pioneer and global leader in entrepreneurship education.
"Babson is thrilled to partner with the Toyota Mobility Foundation to explore innovative solutions to urban transportation problems and new ways to increase mobility within our communities," said Babson President Kerry Healey. "We look forward to bringing the full power of entrepreneurial thinking -- from our faculty, students, alumni, and research centers -- to this important initiative."
The two-year partnership is focused on accelerating the development of creative mobility solutions, whether they relate to advanced wheelchair alterations (such as in wheelchair brakes, bearings, or other components) or new technology altogether. TMF is donating two million dollars to the college with the hopes that the developments will empower people to fulfill their potential, reduce limitations, and expand possibilities for every member of society.
"At Toyota, our vision is to lead the future mobility society, enriching lives around the world with the safest and most responsible ways of moving people, and this partnership with Babson is a wonderful opportunity to innovate in the United States," said Akio Toyoda MBA'82, chairman of the board for the Toyota Mobility Foundation, and president and member of the board of Toyota Motor Corporation. "Babson's resourceful spirit and ability to develop talent through their entrepreneurial mindset makes the College and its students ideal partners as we continue to explore the future of mobility."
The partnership is expected to launch in fall 2019, and will include the evaluation and selection of interested local communities facing real-world mobility issues. As a sustainable plan is developed to address that challenge, students will become engaged and involved in bringing it to life. Both partners know how important something as simple wheelchair alterations can be, so they're reaching for the stars.