• Austria's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Austrian startup develops tablet for the blind
Tsvetanova at the FACE panel discussion in Prague. Photo: FACE/Guillermo Verdejo

Austrian startup develops tablet for the blind

The Local · 21 Mar 2016, 17:03

Published: 21 Mar 2016 17:03 GMT+01:00

"There were a lot of discussions at home, but today my family is happy because I’m happy,” explained Kristina Tsvetanova early in March at an entrepreneurship panel in Prague.
 
Kristina is the CEO and Co-founder of BLITAB Technologies, a company that has designed the world’s first tablet for blind and partially impaired people.
 
By using "smart liquids", the device displays small physical bubbles converting text into Braille and representing graphic elements with tactile relief.
 
 
BLITAB won in 2015 the “Best European Social Startup” and the “Creative Business Cup”, among many other prizes. However, setting up the company wasn’t an easy task for the founders.
 
“Nobody believed in my idea of creating innovation in the social area in Bulgaria, especially for disabilities. Nobody supported me, neither the government nor the public bodies. Even my family didn’t believe that this would happen.
 
So, with the right people, with the right co-funders, we moved from Bulgaria to Vienna, where we established our company,” said Kristina. 
 
She told The Local "I am 27, and I moved to Vienna in 2012 because I had the idea of a tablet for blind people in Bulgaria, but at that time nobody believed that this is possible, nobody supported me."
 
"Bulgaria is the last country in innovations in the EU according INNOVATION iNDEX 2015. All this led me to the thought that I have to leave the country or my idea will never be a product." 
 
"That's why I moved to the heart of Europe to develop my idea from scratch. I do not regret that now BLITAB Technology Ltd is an Austrian company and one of the top enterprises with social impact."
 
"And if you ask today somebody about the tablet for blind in Bulgaria, everybody knows the innovation from BLITAB."
 

Product concept image for the BLITAB.  Photo: BLITAB
 
Nowadays, BLITAB is an award-winning startup that has achieved great recognition. As Tsvetanova explained, “now, we already have support from Bulgaria, from the presidency, the government and the social ministry there, and I believe many people worldwide saw the potential of social entrepreneurship.” 
 
A very common fear among new entrepreneurs
 
The story that Kristina shared is the same that many entrepreneurs experience when, at the beginning of their journey, they don’t get the support they expect from their family and friends. 
 
According to a research carried by experts at the FACE Entrepreneurship (Failure Aversion Change in Europe), one of the most common fears new entrepreneurs have to face when starting up is the social fear.
 
Founders are often afraid of being exposed to their friends, family and co-workers, who may doubt or even laugh down their intended idea. Moreover, potential entrepreneurs fear that, if they fail, they may be considered a failure for life and may not be given further opportunities. 
 
To help others overcome their social fears, Kristina participated in a panel and networking session organized by FACE Entrepreneurship and entitled Face Prague. 
Story continues below…
 
The event took place at the Ministry of Industry in Prague, and it counted with the participation of three other renowned entrepreneurs: Ragnar Sass, Marek Fodor and Dennis Tan. 
 
Fighting fear of failure in Europe
 
The four speakers shared the doubts they faced when explaining their beloved ones their decision to embark on the entrepreneurial path and all of them agreed on the need to challenge the concept that Europeans have of failure.
 
“Being an entrepreneur is actually about identifying our failures, acknowledging that we are doing mistakes, learning from them and never doing the same ones again”, concluded the panel’s moderator Vitek Horky, Brand Embassy's co-founder and CEO.
 
FACE (Failure Aversion Change in Europe) Entrepreneurship is a European Commission campaign born in the framework of the Horizon 2020 Programme to challenge the concept of failure and to promote ICT entrepreneurship among young Europeans through the understanding and confrontation of the most common fears they face. The Spanish Communication Group Grupo Secuoya leads the project, which also counts with the support of Telefonica Open Future and Microsoft Bizspark.

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Intoxicated man demanded officer's gun at Graz airport
View of Graz airport. Photo: Jacktd/Wikimedia

A blind-drunk Romanian man caused a commotion in the departure hall at Graz airport on Wednesday afternoon, threatening to shoot himself with a police officer’s gun.

700 museums open their doors for Long Night event
The hare with amber eyes. Photo: KHM-Museumsverband/Michael Harvey

Night owls and culture vultures can explore over 700 of Austria’s museums from 6pm to 1am on Saturday, courtesy of the ORF’s Long Night of Museums event.

US rapper acquitted in Austrian sexual abuse trial
Freddie Gibbs. Photo: SwaGibbs/Wikimedia

Update: US rapper Freddie Gibbs has been acquitted of sexually abusing a girl half his age in his hotel room after a concert in Vienna last year.

Driver in Vienna 'shouting Allahu Akbar' tries to run over pedestrians
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Police in Vienna are investigating whether a 21-year-old man who tried to run over pedestrians with his car on Thursday morning had a terrorist motive.

Life sentence for killer driver judged to be sane
Screen grab of the car in Herrengasse. Photo: ORF

A jury in the Austrian city of Graz has found a man guilty of killing three people in the southern city last year by driving his 4x4 at high speed down a crowded pedestrian street.

Rare panda twins getting more active every day
The twins are a boy and a girl. Photo: Schönbrunn Zoo

The unique panda twins that were born two months in Vienna are developing well and growing up fast according to zookeepers.

High altitude ski resorts get less snowfall
St. Anton ski resort. Photo: 24seven/Wikimedia

Spring skiing in Austrian resorts like St. Anton or Ischgl could become a thing of the past if a long-term trend discovered by Swiss researchers continues.

Stuntman's clutch fails after driving at 300 km/h
Felix Baumgartner. Photo: Red Bull Stratos

Skydiver Felix Baumgartner has been criticised after boasting about how the clutch on his Ford GT sports car failed after he drove it for several hours at speeds of up to 300 km/per hour.

Austrian men tend to be 'critical of working mothers'
Attitudes are less conservative than in the 1950s. Photo: German Bundesarchiv

42 percent of under 45-year-olds in Austria are critical of mothers with small children who have a job, and believe “a preschooler suffers if his or her mother works”.

Paid social work 'should help asylum seekers integrate'
Refugees arriving on boats in the Mediterranean. UNHCR/Archilleas Zavallis

Refugee experts from Austria’s nine states are meeting in Graz today, to discuss how to provide asylum seekers with employment and opportunities for integration through community work.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Those surprising Austrians!
National
100 years since the last emperor's death
National
Afghani family's new home in Austria
Lifestyle
Have fun in September!
National
Der you learn Deutsch?
Culture
Delighted by the light
National
Beware these passport scams
National
Of course we skipped Oarsch
National
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Travel & Tourism
Yodel-ei-ei-eee--oh
Lifestyle
10 years after her escape from captivity
Politics
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
National
Another 10 million Euros for fresh elections
Gallery
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Society
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Gallery
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
National
It's gonna be hot... here's how to cope
National
Europe's ice cream capital
Travel
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
National
How to make friends in Austria
2,466
jobs available