An economy without barriers for 10 years

Participants of the DCD 2019 look into the camera. Gregor Demblin and Raul Krauthausen in the front row.

The DisAbility Confidence Day 2019 was marked by a big anniversary. The myAbility team has been working successfully with numerous partners on creating a fair and barrier-free economy in Austria for ten years. Among the 300 guests, numerous CEOs of the largest Austrian companies participated to congratulate and signal strong commitment to the inclusion of people with disabilities.

Inclusion and accessibility as an export success for Austria

On the occasion of the anniversary, Robert Zadrazil, CEO of UniCredit Bank Austria, gave an official speech. Bank Austria is the main partner of the DisAbility Economic Forum and has been a companion from the very beginning. In view of this important pioneering work and convinced of the economic potential regarding the issue of disability, the chairperson of the board appealed to the numerous local business people to make Austria a pioneer in Europe.

"I hope that many more companies in Austria will recognize the economic necessity of accessibility and inclusion - and that we can also develop this into another export hit from Austria since this topic is also of global importance", encourages Robert Zadrazil, CEO UniCredit Bank Austria.

The fact that eight CEOs participated in two panel discussions showed that the topic of disability has now found a place in the boardroom. Moderated by Birgit Denk and Andreas Onea (ORF), Airport Chairman Günther Ofner, ÖBB Passenger Transport Chairwoman Michaela Huber and VERBUND Chairman Wolfgang Anzengruber discussed the issue of accessibility, innovation and future prospects.

The topic "Innovative technologies as a game changer" was discussed among Microsoft AustriaGeneral Manager Dorothee Ritz, UNIQA Chairman Andreas Brandstetter and Head of Magenta Telekom Andreas Bierwirth as well as Gregor Demblin founder of myAbility. Digitization and technical progress open up great opportunities for people with disabilities in the workplace. 86 percent of the audience, who was included in the discussion by means of online voting, also agreed on this.

Despite all the advantages of innovative technology, all top managers agreed that successful work towards inclusion is primarily about breaking down the barriers in people's minds. This was also made clear in the welcome speech by the hostess of this event Bettina Glatz-Kremsner, director general of Austrian Lotteries and Casinos Austria.

Social criticism by inclusion activist Raul Krauthausen

Raul Krauthausen’s social criticism is best expressed in his well-known keynote speech "I didn't want to be a roofer anyway". The German inclusion activist humorously and critically pointed out what society thinks about disability. Entrepreneurially-minded people seem to have the gift of converting risks into opportunities. This seems to be an enormous advantage when it comes to the inclusion of people with disabilities in the job market, as the focus is shifted towards their strengths. Raul Krauthausen, Sozialhelden Berlin, urgently appeals to all those who still view inclusion as a charity:

"The inclusion of people with disabilities is not supposed to make people without disabilities feel better."

All panel discussions, the keynote speech and the performance can be viewed here.