The other day we got a chance to catch up with Damiano La Rocca, the founder of Seable, and a graduate of Accelerator’s Hatchery programme. Damiano recently returned to London, having spent a busy and successful summer in Sicily (his homeland) creating unique holiday experiences for Seable’s first customers.
How were you inspired to start Seable?
I was inspired to create Seable by my father’s charity, LIFE (Life Improvement for Everyone), and the lack of financial support it was receiving. LIFE is a charity that runs a scuba diving program for people with disabilities, which my father started when a good friend of his became paraplegic. It started as a rehabilitation scheme and grew, but has been unable to receive funding. I was motivated to create Seable and turn it into a thriving business and use my father’s services as an outlet for one of the vacation activites. Since its inception two years ago, it has seen growth through much planning and preparation. The first time it was in actual operation was this past summer, where it saw much success.
What does Seable do?
Seable is a social enterprise that organizes holidays for disabled people, primarily those that are blind, deaf, or bound to a wheelchair. Seable provides them with transport and accommodation, but what makes Seable unique is how we tailor each vacation to include exactly what the customer wants and for as long as they would like. We provide activities that the person, despite his or her impairement, can participate in; it ranges from scubadiving and jet skiing to cultural excursions. The main goal of the business is to provide an active vacation for the disabled so they can experience something new and different from their norm, and return with a remarkable story and new skills.
Can you describe some of your best experiences this past summer?
This summer, I was able to host 6 small groups for vacations. These groups ranged in size from a singular person to three or four people. One of the greatest I had was with a totally blind Paralympian. After this silver medalist heard of the different activities he could do while on vacation, he signed up! Because of Seable, he was still able to jet ski, scuba dive, windsurf, experience
cultural excursions, and even do a 4×4-driving course! These are all things he wouldn’t have imagined experiencing as a blind man, yet was able to thanks to thanks to my business. Because this guy did his first scuba diving certificate in Sicily, he’s gone ahead and pursued four more scuba diving courses in four months! He’s taken this as a new hobby, a new challenge, and he’s already rebooked with Seable for next year, aiming to break the Guinness world record. Through this, I have been able to show that a holiday can actually change someone’slife. When you see a blind person for the first time windsurfing and he’s so grateful for it, and as long as you’re happy because you’re giving something to him that is invaluable.