Yoocan: Where People with Disabilities from All Over the World Connect

Back in 2017, Wheel:Life featured a story on Yoocan and Alto. For those of you who missed it, Yoocan is a unique, collaborative online community for people with disabilities to connect, share personal stories, and empower each other. Alto was a membership club providing discounts on products and services for the disability community. The two brands have since merged under the Yoocan umbrella eliminating the Alto membership fees in the process. The result? A completely free platform for both community interaction and shopping all on one website.

Wheel:Life has been following Yoocan on social media, and wow, have we read some incredible stories over the past few years! Yoocan began with one Israeli family’s desire to let others with disabilities around the world know they were not alone, but it has since grown into a community of tens of thousands of people from over 105 countries searching the content and writing in to share their experiences, struggles, accomplishments, tips, and more.

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Erez Gaon (the inspiration behind Yoocan) with his brother Asaf Gaon. You can read more about Erez here.

Investing in Assistive Technology

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Moshe Gaon, Yoocan CEO & Co-Founder

As the community grew and Yoocan continued to form partnerships with various organizations across the globe, it became apparent that innovative startups in the assistive technology field were struggling to find the necessary funding to accelerate marketing and reach potential partners. So, the Yoocan team decided to do something about that and created the first ever early-stage assistive technologies startup hub. Moshe Gaon, Yoocan CEO & Co-Founder, states, “The Yoocan Technologies Hub is designed to help early-stage companies focusing on developing assistive innovation in spaces like mobility, smart home, smart cities, video, IoT, AI, and more, reach out faster to the market, raise funds, and connect to potential partners.”

Editor’s Note:  If you would like to join the Yoocan Technologies Hub as a startup or investor, send an email to moshe@yoocantech.com.

Expanding to Include More Languages

From its inception, Yoocan had been an English-speaking platform, but Gaon’s vision is to make it available in every language so people can share their stories and search in their native tongue. His hope is to have Yoocan available in three languages by the end of 2019. The second language became available last year when Israel’s largest bank, Bank Hapoalim, got on board and sponsored the translation of Yoocanfind.com into Hebrew. Yoocan is aiming to find sponsors for the Spanish, German, Chinese, and Arabic versions next.

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Editor’s Note:  If your company would like to learn about the Bank Hapoalim case study and explore the option of sponsoring Yoocan in another language, send an email to moshe@yoocantech.com.

Yoocan Work!

Out of all the features Yoocan has unveiled or is planning to introduce in the near future, Wheel:Life is most excited about Yoocan Work. Job-seekers and employers should keep their eyes open over the next couple of months for a new career board catering specifically to the disability community. A hard launch date is yet to be determined, but Gaon hints that it’s just around the corner. Stay connected with Wheel:Life, and we’ll be sure to bring you more details as they become available.

Editor’s Note:  Employers who’d like to collaborate with Yoocan or sponsor this new feature to create job opportunities for people with disabilities, reach out to Moshe@yoocantech.com.

Yoocan Share Your Story, Too

Gaon encourages people to get involved and declares, “Many of our storytellers have found friends and have helped others by sharing their story. One story can change somebody’s life.”

Yoocan storyteller Jessica Marie says, “I remember years ago when I had no friends with disabilities and I felt so alone and Yoocan makes you feel so welcomed and part of a community.”

Children are also encouraged to get involved in sharing and learning more about what kids with similar disabilities around the world are doing. Yoocan often receives feedback from parents who are grateful to have met new people through the online community, and for this, Gaon says, the team is especially proud.

Community members Shane Burcaw and Hannah Elizabeth run a YouTube channel documenting their inter-abled relationship.
Yoocan community members Shane Burcaw and Hannah Elizabeth run a YouTube channel documenting their inter-abled relationship.

Editor’s Note:  Sharing your story on Yoocan is simple. Go to Yoocanfind.com, click on “+ADD” at the top of the page and follow the steps to create an account by clicking on “Sign Up For Free.” Once you’re registered, you’ll be taken to a form where you can write out your story and upload some photos. After you submit it, your story will be reviewed before appearing on the website, so make sure to follow along on social media daily!

If you’d like to help and support Yoocan, consider doing some of your product research and shopping via Yoocanfind.com/Shop. Access to the site is free, and for every purchase you make, Yoocan receives a small commission from the vendors they work with to help build new features, such as Yoocan Work, and keep the global community up and running.

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About the Author

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Betsy Bailey has a diverse background including experience in marketing research at American Express, business operations and client relations with 601am, travel and culinary writing with VegDining, and playing volleyball professionally overseas.

Betsy has been writing for Wheel:Life since January of 2017 and thoroughly enjoys the process of getting to know her interviewees. She also teaches students learning English as a second language, speaks French fluently, and travels any chance she gets!

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