#DesignYourFuture: An interview with Top Ram winner, Renee Kakareka

Name: Renee Kakareka

Major: Industrial Design

What is oLive? (Description, mission/goal, what makes oLive unique)

oLive is an assistive medical device company adapted for all socio-economic groups. We pledge to provide superpowers for those with different-abilities and bring treatment and diagnostics to IMG_4392 (3)those without easy access to medical care. oLive approaches problem solving in a bottom-up fashion. It is more likely, by starting our design process for lower-economic areas we can reach more people. This method equips us with focused designs for the user’s culture and abilities.  Bottom-up solutions have more potential to be applied universally.

oLive pledges to create relationships with our customers. Maintaining a connection with our customers, we will adapt our programs and training to maintain consistent impact. oLive’s employees and representatives will maintain contact with the communities and customers our devices reach. We will spend time maintaining relationships to assure our stakeholders gain all the benefits of our products.


How did you come up with this?

oLive’s pilot product evolved from working with a PhilaU Occupational Therapy student and client in the spring of 2015. This was designing smart-glasses and a mobile application for adult deaf and hard-of-hearing persons. Over time, as I talked to more deaf and hard of hearing  students, educators, parents, and specialists, I have focused concentration for this specific project for children grades 1st through 8th to help them develop early language, cognitive, and social skills that they will be able to sustain throughout their life. My passion to design for equality and social programs, designing for the other 90% of the world, and my progress on an innovative product, influenced me to start oLive and apply my talents to create change.

What are you currently doing to build?

Currently, our focus is on the development of this pilot product and creating a network. We are connecting with deaf education programs in the Philadelphia area as well as from the school districts I attended in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, applying for start-up accelerators, attending conferences and learning as much as we can.OLIVE LOGO FINAL

How has Blackstone helped your entrepreneurial journey?

Blackstone has been a great help finding the resources I need to build. They have guided me along the more technical aspects of business, referred me to information and start-up accelerators, guided me to conferences and helped me find the right people for start-up services (contributing to my network). Also, they have introduced me to and are helping prepare me for competitions such as College Pitch Philly and Hatch House.

What should we expect to see from you and oLive in the next few months?

Within the next few months our product should be going through the evolution of design and testing. By May we will make headway on our technology and form development and will be coming out with an introductory commercial for our pilot project. We will be pitching our concept at the College Pitch Philly competition at the Science Center Quorum on February 24th between 4:30 and 7:00pm.

Any insider tip for entrepreneurs out there?

Get your idea out as early as possible, talk to as many people as possible. Doing this in your early stages will allow you to meet more people and get more feedback; there’s always something new to be learned. Fail early and fail often!

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