Leeds online speech therapist Mable Therapy shows how tech can be harnessed for the good of society

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Much has been made about how technology is revolutionising our lives and will continue to do so going ahead.

But one thing that mustn't be overlooked is how tech disruption can be used for societal good.

Louis Bennett talks to Oliver Legrand at Mable Therapy in Leeds.

Louis Bennett talks to Oliver Legrand at Mable Therapy in Leeds.

While we continue to champion the achievements of very clever men building applications such as automated mood lighting, kettles and other nice-to-have gadgets, there are tech companies that are looking to use technology to genuinely improve the lives of people that need it most.

One such business is Mable Therapy. I had the pleasure of meeting two young boys who suffer from a stammer.

Both Louis Bennett and Oliver Legrand are both just how you'd expect any 11-year-old boy to be. Lively, a bit cheeky and absolutely football mad.

The only thing that makes them stand out from the ordinary is that they both have a stammer and that's where Mable, an online speech therapist, comes in.

The business was set up by Martha Currie and her partner, software developer, Elliot Agro in 2015. It provides online speech and language therapy sessions for people aged up to 25.

Working previously as a speech and language therapist for the NHS, Ms Currie was stressed out with a big caseload. She also had a wide geographical area to cover in London.

So her partner suggested doing therapy sessions over video online. Using her expertise in the field of speech, they have built a software that now can help young people with speech impediments not just across the country but internationally.

Oliver lives in Northern France and his mother felt that while visiting his French therapist he wasn't learning sounds common in the English language.

Support for tech-for-good businesses is crucial. One of the reasons why Mable Therapy has done well, according to Ms Currie, has been the fact that an angel investor came on board during the early stages.

It's reassuring to hear from her that more fields of therapy are looking at using technology to make lives easier for practitioners and patients alike.

Mable is a perfect example of why tech shouldn't be a 'man's world'. Ms Currie's expertise has been harnessed to create a platform that is proving a success in speech and language therapy. This brings into focus the point that Jem Henderson, entrepreneur engagement manager for TechNation in Yorkshire, made earlier this year.

She said: "We’re building technologies and we’re building platforms but currently they are mostly being built by white middle class men.

"The problem is that they’re only really solving problems for white middle class men.

"If we ask somebody from a background, where they have experienced poverty, they’re going to be facing problems that people in the Valley and San Francisco couldn’t possibly even comprehend."

Her call for greater diversity was also echoed by Anna Sutton, CEO of Leeds-based data consultancy Data Shed.

She relayed to me the astounding story of a "bunch of men" who built an app for menstruation, which ultimately failed.

Ms Sutton said: “There wasn’t a single woman working on that. You think how is that even possible. It’s completely crazy.”

Data Shed itself has been doing pioneering work on the gambling self-exclusion platform GAMSTOP.

"It’s nice to be working in the tech-for-good space and helping people,” Ms Sutton said.

Tech is a force for change and people in the sector have to be supported to develop ideas that benefit society, she added.

In Mable Therapy you have a good example of a tech-for-good platform being supported and flourishing as a result.

While it is nice to have the latest boy's toys, we should look to do more to support those tech companies looking to enrich society as a whole.

Mable is a fantastic example of this and the great thing is they're bringing about positive change from Yorkshire.

READ MORE:

How Leeds-based Mable Therapy is helping two young boys find their voices

The 17 businesses in Leeds that have been named in the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator #PowerUp Index

Being a mum is no barrier to leading the technology charge for Data Shed’s Anna Sutton

Tech sector ‘needs to attract more working class people’