The MaRS and CIBC Inclusive Design Challenge Launch

Join the Canadian innovation community and help shape the future of employment for persons with disabilities.

About this event

This May 20 — Global Accessibility Awareness Day — you’re invited to the launch of the MaRS and CIBC Inclusive Design Challenge, a pan-Canadian innovation competition that aims to address the most pressing employment barriers faced by persons with disabilities.

The winner of this challenge will receive a $50,000 grand prize; two runners-up will receive $20,000 each; and two innovators will be awarded $5,000 each with honourable mention.

The launch features opening remarks from MaRS and CIBC, as well as a keynote address from Varun Chandak of Access to Success, followed by a panel discussion with leaders from the innovation and disability communities.

MaRS and CIBC are committed to making this launch, and the overall challenge, as accessible as possible. We are offering American Sign Language interpretation and closed-captioning during the broadcast. Please let us know if you require any additional accommodations through the registration.


Thursday, May 20, 2021 — Global Accessibility Awareness Day

12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.

Zoom broadcast. Register today online.


MaRS-supported companies


Anyone interested in helping people with disabilities remove barriers to finding work


Varun Chandak, founder, Access to Success

Varun supports the development of future leaders with disabilities and assistive tech. Since arriving in Canada in 2016, Varun has helped establish $90,000 in annual scholarships for MBA students with disabilities, launched the world's first study on disability inclusion in MBA programs, and most recently, launched ATS Labs, Canada's first accelerator for accessibility startups. His motivation stems from his childhood search for business leaders with visible disabilities, and tech that could help with his hearing loss and Erb's Palsy. Varun holds an MBA from the Rotman School of Management, and lives in Toronto with his fiancé and hyperactive goldendoodle, Dash.


The MaRS and CIBC Inclusive Design Challenge aims to address the most pressing employment barriers faced by persons with disabilities in Canada. Run through a series of four crowdsourced competitions, the challenge invites change-makers (members of the disability and innovation communities) to propose and develop solutions to these barriers.

This first innovation challenge seeks solutions to support accessible career entry for persons with disabilities.