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Business innovation through qualifying and (re-)employing of deaf people

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Signs for Europe (Business innovation through qualifying and (re-)employing of deaf people)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2017-07-31

There are around 1 million deaf people in Europe, facing a much lower employment rate and participation rate in higher education than non-disabled people. The main reason is the lack of quality and continuous education available in sign language. Therefore, deaf people earn a significantly lower income, and suffer from social exclusion and isolation.
The integration of deaf people in society is one of the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and the objective of the EC’s 2010-2020 Disability Strategy.
The objective of the project is to replicate via franchise all over Europe our successful business model, so that more people can benefit from our 13 years of experience and innovation in sign language education, deaf people empowerment through better access to qualified work, and deafness issues awareness among employers and in society.
The work done during Phase 1 has proven the feasibility of the project, so we will continue with Phase 2.
We performed a complex analysis of the market in the EU 28 countries and Israel, which highlighted Germany and France as the best countries in which to introduce our business model. We realized a deeper analysis of the German and French markets, obtaining insights into their stakeholder landscape and funding opportunities.
We reviewed the legal context of a franchise contract both in Europe in general and in Germany and France in particular, and determined our legal obligations towards our franchisees and the IPR strategy that should be part of the franchise contract.
We developed detailed work packages for the Phase 2 work plan dedicated to standardizing our know-how as a franchise package so it can be sold to our franchisees.
We have updated the innovation business plan with all these inputs, including a commercialization strategy, growth forecast, and a market entry plan.
We have contacted two organizations in Germany to participate in pilot tests, and they have expressed their agreement with letters of interest
We have developed a methodology to standardize and protect the different IP items that our franchisees will exploit while also complying with the European legal guidelines on franchise contracts. We calculate that we will replicate our business model via franchise in 17 different metropolitan areas of Germany and France during the first 3 years of commercialization, benefiting with quality education and professional training a population of 3.000 deaf persons in each one of them.