Press Kit

Zero Project Technology Forum 2023

Suggested alternative text for the images, left to right: 

  1. Group portrait, left to right: Christopher Patnoe, Senior Program Manager Google; Shilpa Kumar, Partner at Omidyar Networks India; Martin Essl, Founder of the Zero Project, Essl Foundation; Charlotte V. McClain-Nhlapo, Global Disability Advisor World Bank; Hermann Erlach, CEO Microsoft Österreich; and Robert Zadrazil, CEO UniCredit Bank Austria.
  2. Martin Essl and Robert Zadrazil sitting next next to each other on stage at the Technology Forum Press Conference.
  3. An aerial view of the entire audience in M1 conference room for the Award Ceremony of the Zero Project Conference 2023.


Zero Project Technology Forum Press Kit

2023 Zero Project Technology Forum Press Kit EN

6 February 2023

2023 Zero Project Technology Forum Pressemappe DE

6 February 2023

The Zero Project Conference 2023

The Zero Project Conference – an annual disability inclusion gathering at the United Nations Office at Vienna – brings together innovators and key decision makers from all sectors to foster partnerships, share new proven solutions, and support the international scaling of these solutions, all towards the mission for a world with zero barriers. The Zero Project Conference 2023 will highlight new and innovative solutions from around the world centered around the theme of: Independent Living & Political Participation, and ICT. 

In 2023 there are 71 Zero Project Awardees from 42 countries, and we are eager to honour for the first time solutions implemented in Djibouti.There are several fantastic new opportunities at #ZeroCon23. To accelerate the growth of innovative disability technology, we are launching the first-ever Zero Project Technology Forum, an all-day event dedicated to helping disability inclusion innovators scale their products and services. The first Zero Project Youth Delegation includes 19 participants from four continents, encouraging its members throughout the week to use various media formats to express themselves and, in the process, to capture the global essence of #ZeroCon23. Finally, the Zero Project Policymaker Forum convenes policy makers from around the world to address good practices through constructive dialogue on how legislation can empower persons with disabilities.

#ZeroCon23 will deliver global roundtables that touch upon innovations in mental health, projects that provide solutions for persons with psychosocial disabilities, international standards that are enabling accessible telehealth for all, the interdisciplinary connections between cybersecurity and persons with disabilities, inclusive workshop formats that address the needs of persons with disabilities who have experienced sexual trauma, and many more contemporary and prescient disability inclusion challenges along with the solutions that address them.

The Zero Project in facts & figures

  • Zero Project Awardees

    71 Awardees

    In 2022, 71 solutions from 42 countries have been selected as Zero Project Awardees (out of 320 total nominations). This year's theme is Independent Living and Political Participation.

  • Zero Project Network

    6,000 experts

    The Zero Project Network brings together experts from more than 120 countries worldwide and all sectors of society.

  • Zero Project Database

    800+ solutions

    The Zero Project Database comprises curated and peer-reviewed solutions from more than 120 countries.

  • Zero Project Database

    650+ organizations

    The Zero Project Database also encourages users to connect with innovators.

  • Research Process

    3,143 nominations

    The total number of nominations from 2013 – 2023, as part of the annual research and selection process.

  • Zero Project Conference

    800+ ZeroCon attendees

    The Zero Project Conference 2023 plans to welcome 800+ attendees in person and a live-streaming audience of 10,000 people at the Zero Project YouTube Channel.

About the Zero Project

What we do:

Our mission is working for a world with zero barriers. Worldwide, the Zero Project finds and shares solutions that improve the daily lives and legal rights of all persons with disabilities.

The Zero Project

The Zero Project's mission is working for a world with zero barriers. Worldwide, the Zero Project finds and shares solutions that improve the daily lives and legal rights of all persons with disabilities.

The Zero Project's approach is research-driven and aims to identify, curate, and share inclusive solutions, as intended and encouraged by Article 32 of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). In order to achieve this objective, the Zero Project engages with a worldwide cross-sectoral network of innovators, decision-makers, and opinion leaders.

Each year, the Zero Project selects, communicates, and shares innovative solutions that support the rights and lives of persons with disabilities. The research is centred around the following four topics in a 4-year cycle: Independent Living & Political Participation, Education, Employment, Accessibility. Since 2020, in addition to these four topics, ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) is covered every year.

The Essl Foundation

The Zero Project was initiated by the Essl Foundation in 2008, with its mission centred on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and its commitment to a world with zero barriers. The Essl Foundation MGE gemeinnützige Privatstiftung is an Austrian Foundation established in 2007 by Martin and Gerda Essl, and their children, for social purposes and scientific research. Its mission is to support social innovation, social entrepreneurship and persons with disabilities.

Logo download

You can download the Zero Project logo in two different versions for use in digital and print media via the links below. Should you require the logos in a different format, contact the Zero Project Team at

Suggested alternative text for the Zero Project logo:

Zero Project logo: "Zero Project" written in green font above the claim "For a world with zero barriers", and next to an illustration of a green seedling breaking through a circle.

  • Zero Project logo for digital use

    Web Media Kit

    Click to download a zip-Folder with png, jpg, and eps files.

  • Zero Project logo for use in print

    Print Media Kit

    Click to download a zip-Folder with png, eps and PDF files.

The Zero Project in Easy Language

What is Zero Project?

In 2008, the Essl Foundation started the Zero Project.
The vision of Zero Project is: “A world without barriers.”
Zero Project wants to improve the rights of people with disabilities all over the world.
The basis for this is the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is a Convention of the United Nations.
People with disabilities are often disadvantaged.
However, there are always new and useful solutions to eliminate such disadvantages.
These solutions are the focus of the Zero Project.
Zero Project searches for, selects, and shares the best solutions and ideas.

Press photos & bios

Martin Essl

Martin Essl is the Founder of the Essl Foundation, which through the Zero Project is committed to a world with zero barriers.

As an entrepreneur­ – and coming from an entrepreneurial family in Austria – Martin Essl is well-known for his dedication to social responsibility and modern arts. After selling the bauMax conglomerate in 2015, Martin Essl now concentrates on philanthropy and real estate investing.

Martin and Gerda Essl, together with their children, established the Essl Foundation in 2007. The Essl Foundation supports social innovation and social entrepreneurs, with a focus on persons with disabilities and employment.

Currently the Zero Project is the Essl Foundation's main focus. It is also a member of  "Sinnstifter", a joint initiative by twelve Austrian Foundations that co-finance social innovations. Moreover, the Essl Foundation is a member of the Disability Thematic Network Group within the European Foundation Centre (EFC).

Furthermore, Martin Essl supports Ashoka Austria and has co-initiated the "Haus der Philanthropie", which translates to House of Philanthropy. It is a co-working space for charitable foundations in Vienna.

Click on the link to download a photo of Martin Essl:

Michael Fembek

Michael Fembek is the CEO of the Zero Project.

A former business journalist, he has initiated and developed the Zero Project since 2008.  In July 2022, Michael Fembek joined the Board of Directors of the Essl Foundation, in charge of strategy, international cooperations and communications. He is also head of the Disability Thematic Network of Philea, the leading European Association of foundations.

As the former Editor-in-Chief of  "Gewinn", an Austrian business magazine, Michael has been keen to pair his entrepreneurial ambitions with value and purpose. Consequently, in 2009 he initiated "Sinnstifter", a project by Austrian philanthropists, and launched the annual Austrian Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Guide. His work with foundations was further enriched when in 2014, he co-initiated the Austrian philanthropic association, called "Verband für Gemeinnütziges Stiften", where he serves as Vice President. In 2016, he co-initiated the Haus der Philanthropie, a novel co-working space dedicated to NGOs, as well as the Sinnbildungsstiftung, a foundation focusing on innovations in education, on which he currently serves as a Board Member.

Michael Fembek holds a graduate degree in Economics from the Vienna University of Economics and Business.

Click on the link to download a photo of Michael Fembek:

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