In the heart of Moreton Bay, Paul Szep, a man who wasn't going to let something like blindness get in the way of a good game. And so, Blind Bats Inc was born. Paul, not deterred by societal expectations, often emphasises how lived experiences have propelled him on his journey rather than formal academic qualifications. His innovation wasn't born from a series of lectures; rather, from a real desire to solve a real need.
Blind Bats Inc stands with a clear mission - to promote a more active, healthy, and inclusive lifestyle in the broader community through accessible sport. Initially focussed on those with sight impairments, as things progressed, it became evident that the scope of their mission would extend far beyond only the visually impaired. The power of Blind Bats reached individuals across a spectrum of ability levels, bringing joy, engagement, and a sense of community. Paul, with his indomitable spirit, now eyes a national footprint. With weekly multi-sport events fostering community spirit, Blind Bats is set to tap into the heartbeats of cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide by 2024.
From a rudimentary ball to the cutting-edge 8th generation Beeping Ball, Blind Bats' journey of innovation has been nothing short of inspiring. This ball isn't just any ball; it's an emblem of inclusion, emitting varied sounds during different game phases, thus making sports more inclusive for the differently-abled.
Its success story is rooted in its inherent necessity. The Beeping Ball wasn't just an idea; it was an answer to a glaring need. Its reception has been thunderous, carving paths of accessibility and promising a brighter future where sports can truly be for all. And if things go according to Paul's vision, we might just hear the harmonious beeps of cricket in the 2032 Paralympics.
The backing from The City of Moreton Bay has been unparalleled. “The Council at Moreton Bay… I can’t say enough good about them.” From the city council providing grounds and facilities to other support, Paul says Moreton Bay is “at the forefront of encouraging people through all sorts of programs and recognising people and businesses for the work they do, not to mention supporting us through a wide range of workshops and other events. Through all of this, I’ve met some amazing people and have been blown away by the support.”
Paul's wisdom, derived from his roller-coaster journey, is a treasure trove for budding entrepreneurs. "It all starts with a clear vision," he says. But knowing what you want to do is just the beginning. Execution is the next step. Yet, ensuring that your solution meets the market's needs is a non-negotiable.
For Paul, it has always been about engagement. "Never stop listening. Never stop understanding," he emphasises. His journey, laden with challenges and victories, is an embodiment of seizing opportunities, or as he succinctly puts it, "I saw an opportunity, and I leapt. Now, here I am, firmly on my feet, with plenty of help from The City of Moreton Bay.”
Our case studies series is showcasing businesses across the Moreton Bay Region which are doing innovative things aligned with the Innovate Moreton Bay program.
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