"As a wheelchair user myself, thoughtful design has enabled me to work, travel and be independent. I think everyone should have that opportunity - no matter where they are in the world."

Where Motivation began

In 1989, two Royal College of Art students entered a competition. Their goal? To design a wheelchair for disabled people in developing countries.

David Constantine and Simon Gue were determined to create a prototype that put the user at its heart. It had to be robust to cope with rough terrain, affordable and made using materials that could be locally sourced.

Their design won. Our ebook - kindly produced by publishing students at the University of Bath, 2016

The judges convinced the pair to take the prototype a step further. So David and Simon took their prize money to Bangladesh with their friend Richard Frost, and they built their first wheelchair for a local disability organisation.

Seeing first-hand how quickly an appropriate wheelchair could transform a life, they were easily persuaded to stay a little while longer to help increase production.

In 1991, the team of three started their first wheelchair workshop. Motivation began. 

Click on our ebook to learn more about the Motivation journey (thanks to the incredible team of publishing students at Bath Spa University who created this for us to mark our 25th anniversary)!

Taking things global

After their first project, our team took their expertise to Eastern Europe, South East Asia, the Middle East, Central America and 17 countries across Africa.

We’ve learned a huge amount about the design of wheelchairs for different users, environments and terrain. But, vitally, we’ve also realised how important it is to provide wheelchairs with proper assessment, fitting and adjustment.

We wanted to share this knowledge and raise standards for wheelchair provision across the sector. So in 2008, we worked with the World Health Organization (WHO) to publish 'Guidelines on the provision of manual wheelchairs in less resourced settings'. This guidance aims to ensure that disabled people don't just get any wheelchair, but they get the right wheelchair, in the right way.

Getting sporty

Another exciting opportunity arose in 2011 when the International Paralympic Committee asked us to design a new low-cost racing wheelchair. Our Flying Start wheelchair was launched at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. That prompted us to extend our range to feature entry-level sports wheelchairs and open up the world of sport to thousands of people worldwide.

Motivation today

Motivation now produces a whole range of high-quality wheelchairs, trikes and supportive seats for use in developing countries.

We also provide training to technicians and clinicians who make sure that wheelchair users gets the right equipment for their needs and environment.

We support disabled people, their families and communities so that they understand their rights and how to tackle stigma and discrimination.

We work with global, national and local partners.

We influence the way disability and development are understood by governments, communities and individuals.

We use innovative design to create programmes and products that put disabled people at the heart of everything we do.

We’re proud to play a part in making sport accessible to all.

Motivation has touched the lives of disabled people in 120 countries around the globe. And we’re just as committed to giving disabled people the products and support they need to live happy, healthy and independent lives.

We’ve come a long way, but we’ve still got a lot to do...

Hear from co-founder David Constantine on TEDx