Press Kit

The Zero Project in facts & figures

  • Zero Project Network

    10,000 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

    1,000+ ZeroCon attendees

    The Zero Project Conference regularly welcomes 1,000+ attendees in person and a live-streaming audience of 10,000 people on YouTube.

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.

Founded by Austrian non-profit Essl Foundation in 2008, the Zero Project is a global and research-driven initiative to support the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It focuses its efforts on the topics of Education, Employment, Accessibility, Independent Living and Political Participation, and ICT.

Over the past decade, the Zero Project has established a global network of 10,000+ experts, policy makers, corporates, academics, and other persons with and without disabilities who are advancing the implementation of the CRPD. This network contributes to the Zero Project’s work and continues to grow, fostering a global community for disability inclusion.

The Essl Foundation

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. 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.

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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