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Atypical Advantage, a platform to ensure economic livelihood for persons with disabilities, gets funded in Shark Tank India!

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Molshree
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Atypical Advantage, a platform to ensure economic livelihood for persons with disabilities, gets funded in Shark Tank India!

Started by Vineet Saraiwala from Jharkhand, who has suffered from low visibility since childhood, Atypical Advantage has helped over 1,000 disabled people and 500 artists with jobs, performances, and commissioned work.

Vineet was very young when he started losing his eyesight. Gradually, the visibility reduced to just 10% of the vision, and thus, he was introduced to various sufferings in his life. What came to his rescue was the education he could get while studying in educational institutes like IIM Bengaluru, which helped him land a good corporate job later. But, Vineet Saraiwala was aware that not all persons with disabilities sustain themselves and started Atypical Advantage.

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Vineet Saraiwala

India accounts for nearly 2.21 % of persons with disabilities, out of which only 36% of people get employment, according to the last census and Forbes. When Saraiwala quoted the figures while speaking to Local Samosa, he also mentioned how the inequality at the educational institutes plays a pivotal role in leading to the same.

Saraiwala, who hails from Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, worked in a corporate job for six years and, through the same, helped more than 500 PwDs to get employment. Things changed for him during the national lockdown of 2020 when he started getting many more CVs for jobs. “I realized that there were limitations to help the people while being in the capacity of my job, so I decided to start a platform to be able to help them properly,” Saraiwala said.

Merging candidates with employers

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Since 2020, Atypical Advantage has been pioneering in helping more than 1000 candidates by providing employment opportunities. The platform acts as a mediator for people with disabilities who can search the jobs through the corporates posted on the platform. Along with the permanent roles, various freelance opportunities are available for the people that can be availed through the platform.

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In addition, there are many artists, singers, and dancers that have got a platform to showcase their talent through the platform. “We arrange shows and events where they can perform,” Saraiwala informed. While many visual artists have got the platform to commission their art, many have also been able to sell their products through the medium to the corporates. Saraiwala told Local Samosa that more than 1,000 artworks had been commissioned, and 500 performing artists benefitted from it.

Challenges all the way

In the last two years, while Saraiwala has been able to create livelihood opportunities for persons with disabilities, he also faced and observed various challenges that often come the way of such people. Talking about the same, Saraiwala said, “Many disabled children either do not go to schools or if they go, there are not treated well.”

Adding to it, he also said that there is a huge “attitudinal barrier” that comes the way of persons with disabilities. “Corporates are reluctant to hire persons with disabilities, and those who hire do not provide better infrastructure to them,” Saraiwala said. But what comes as a shocking revelation by Saraiwala is that even corporates who come with the mindset of hiring PwDs ask for “less disabled” people for their jobs.

Shark Tank Entry

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Vineet Saraiwala (middle) with Namita Thapar (left) and Aman Gupta (right) at Shark Tank India Season 2

Despite the challenges, Vineet Saraiwala has been confident enough to carry his initiative and help the disabled. Keeping the same in mind, he pitched his initiative in front of the sharks on Shark Tank India Season 2, a reality television show. Right from mentioning his journey in IIM Bengaluru to why he thinks that nazariya (perspective) is more important than nazariya (eyesight), Saraiwala asked for Rs. 30 lacs for 1% equity.

Not only did the Sharks like the initiative of Saraiwala and morally back him, but Namita Thapar and Aman Gupta also offered Rs. 30 lacs with Rs. 15 lacs each for 3% of equity, which Saraiwala accepted.

Saraiwala has been much thankful for the overwhelming response received from the country and mentioned that he is looking forward to making an impact on the lives of at least one million people with disabilities through economic support in the coming future. “I am 32 right now, and I aim to achieve this objective till I turn 40,” he said, adding that we cannot think of their betterment unless the disabled people become self-sustained.

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