I am fan of Brandur (Brassi) Karlson, he is such an inspiration to everyone in Iceland. I think he personifies what is great about Iceland. Entrepreneurs and Startup Founders, rolling their sleeves and getting to work on their dream. I am delighted to announce Brandur as the first speaker for Startup Iceland 2016. Brandur’s story is incredible and inspiring, however I am the first one to point out that Inspiration is Perishable. I am glad that Brandur is making tangible progress towards a number of his goals.

I met Brandur yesterday and spoke to him about his current project, Frumbjörg an innovation and coworking space for Startup Founders and Entrepreneurs who are disabled. Here is an excerpt from his Crowd Funding Campaign:

The role of the Sjálfsbjörg Innovation Center will be multi-faceted, but at its core it will serve as a venue for research, innovation and entrepreneurial activities in the field of welfare technology. It will also provide an accessible way for disabled individuals to take part in diverse innovative activities, fostering participation and bolstering employment opportunities.

Here are Brandur’s words about the project:

First, thanks to my friend Bala, for lending me this voice to ask for your help to make an important improvement to our island society.

We at Sjalfsbjorg are a group of disabled people and entrepreneurs working towards the improvement of our shared existence, with an emphasis on welfare and health related innovations. To that end, we are preparing to renovate a 500 square meter space that will be dedicated towards this goal. And along with our strong collaborators the Innovation Center of Iceland, The University of Reykjavik, Klak Innovit, Karolinafund and others yet to come, we hope to have a positive impact on the future of innovation and industry by providing entrepreneurs with support and guidance in a stimulating environment.

Governments are becoming more aware of the looming social problems due to an ageing population and decline in childbirths. The age pyramid is flattening out which means that more people will be depending on the work of fewer hands. That is why we need to start working on these problems today. Smart houses, assistive robots, health monitoring equipment and gamified rehabilitation are examples of emerging fields bringing exciting new solutions to our modern society.

The speed with which technology is advancing means that there need to be places where new solutions are tested and adapted for public use. Limited funds mean that solutions need to be prioritized, Frumbjorg, Frumkvodlamidstod Sjalfsbjargar will be a non profit organization, working toward making a better future for us all. It will be a haven for innovative minds to come up with new solutions and a place for cross organizational cooperation.

So, how can you help.  By spreading the word and encouraging people to support our crowdfund