The journey of Ali and HeyCane

Thursday, May 30th, 2019

Ali Ismail, the founder and CEO of RevolutionEyes Ltd, was diagnosed with a sight condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa from birth. By the time he was nine his condition severely affected his vision. Eventually he became blind. Learning about his environment without sight was a challenge for him.
At the age of 11, he was given his first cane to assist him with moving around independently. This drastically improved his confidence. The cane helped Ali substantially with travelling to different places. Particularly, avoiding obstacles in his path to reach his class room when travelling from the library to the Manchester metropolitan University (MMU) Business School.

Although the cane was an important tool within his life, he recognised a serious problem with it. Each time he would drop or lose his cane, Ali, along with many other visually impaired cane users, would become disoriented. For example, when Ali would leave his cane on the floor in a lecture theatre, he would almost never find his cane at the end of the lecture. This became stressful for him, because he would misplace his cane, and he would not be able to find his cane after the lecture. He had to rely on other people to find his cane for him, taking away his independence.

During the final year of his Business Management degree, when he was in class for a unit called Entrepreneurial in Practice, he had his eureka moment! Ali had created HeyCane, the problem of this solution not only for him, but for the 285 million visually impaired people globally!
After graduating with a First Class Business Management Degree from MMU, Ali wanted to do more as a role model for the visually impaired community. In his final year of his degree he saw how entrepreneurship could be a vehicle to support the visually impaired community. So, after his graduation, Ali proceeded with the formation of RevolutionEyes Ltd, the company under which HeyCane is being operated.
In February, Ali enrolled on the Accelerate ME, and entrepreneurial program in Manchester, through which he obtained substantial support. As a sole founder and blind entrepreneur, Ali was very grateful to join the program, which allowed him to broaden his networks and attain more support on developing HeyCane.

Currently, Ali is in the process of obtaining his final minimal viable product (prototype) of HeyCane. With the support of his network, Ali is organising a pilot study, where he can receive significant feedback regarding the prototype from his visually impaired community. The responses obtained from the pilot will allow him to inform his decision, namely, whether he should progress with manufacturing or whether he should produce another prototype.
Finally, the world is a beautiful place for everyone, but not everyone has equal access to it. HeyCane’s technology is making sure that all are on the same playing field, making the world a more accessible place for visually impaired people. With HeyCane they will never be lost again!
Ali is developing his community who can help him as a sole founder and blind entrepreneur through this journey. Please sign up to the HeyCane community to stay updated with Ali’s progress.

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