Just like APR.Intern, Northcott Innovation knows the power and impact of a perfect match.

With the help of PhD expertise, the Northcott disability service provider-owned tech start-up has revolutionised disability housing access. Replacing the traditional waiting list system, Northcott Innovation Executive Director, Samantha Frain, likens the new system, Nest, to Air BnB or a dating app.

“Nest will allow specialist disability accommodation suppliers to add their properties to our database, including service levels so it can be matched to the needs of people with disability,” she explains.

Supported by the NSW Government’s TechVoucher program, APR.Intern was a natural progression for Northcott Innovation who were matched to University of Technology Sydney (UTS) student, Ayesha Nadeem.

“Ayesha was able to bring a formalised business forecasting approach that gave us access to a different way of thinking and new approaches to consider,”

Northcott Innovation Executive Director, Samantha Frain

For Ayesha, it was a powerful opportunity to enrich her practical knowledge of real-world problems with critical soft-skills essential to driving commercial research.

“My role was to develop a self-sustaining business model for Northcott Innovation’s home matching platform beneficial to all stakeholders and sustainable under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS),” says Ayesha.

Instrumental in supporting Ayesha during her placement, UTS-based Professor Eng Chew has equally praised the program.

“This experience allows researchers to reframe their research questions in the context of current industry problems, rather than academic research solutions hunting for industry problems to match with,” 

Professor Eng Chew

For Northcott Innovation, the real prize is the impact of Nest on the lives of Australians with a disability.

“With a platform like Nest empowering people with disability to see what is available, they can act in the same way as everybody else and change where they live according to need and circumstance,” says Samantha.

New Platform to Transform Disability Housing