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Anne Perriaux, an inclusive entrepreneur

02.11.2018
Signalétique inclusive

Anne Perriaux is an illustrator. She is also the creator of 630°EST, a company that develops pictorial communication tools for people with specific cognitive needs.

She wanted to do something meaningful with her profession by bringing an inclusive approach to the world of business. And that’s exactly what she did two years ago by founding 630°EST, a social enterprise committed to caring. Its aim is to improve pictorial communication in urban areas to take people with cognitive and mental disabilities into account and bring them greater mobility and autonomy. To achieve her goal, the young entrepreneur drew on her own talents as a trained graphic designer, choosing to apply her artistic skills to helping people with disabilities.

“I have always wanted design, my profession, to not just look pretty but have a social impact as well,” says Anne Perriaux. She wrote her master’s dissertation on autism, a world she discovered working closely with caregivers and specialists in the field.

Following two years spent in a Paris start-up dedicated to mobile applications for people with autism or Alzheimer’s disease, she decided to return to her hometown. So, at the age of 24, she founded her company in Clermont-Ferrand. The quirky name 630°EST (meaning 630 degrees East) pays tribute to the region (Puy‑de‑Dôme, postcode 63) and is also a play on the French expression “out West”, which can be used to describe people with disabilities. “We wanted to go even further than 360 degrees – that’s where the 630 comes from – and put a twist on the expression by saying we’re out East.” To get her project off the ground, she decided to surround herself with skilled people and joined Cocoshaker, a business incubator for the social and community economy. Since then, 630°EST has soared to success, winning the Clermont Auvergne Métropole “Prix Ouvre-Boîte” award for start-ups and the Maison Innovergne’s “Label entreprise innovante” distinction for innovative businesses. In September, the company also received the Fondation de France’s “Prix Jeune Talent” prize for talented young people.

These awards all recognise the talent and inventiveness of Anne Perriaux and her three partners, who have built up a bank of images. Their company provides comprehension aids for people with disabilities to help them with all kinds of daily tasks. “The images we create are simplified, concrete and matter-of-fact, without the kind of abstract visuals that can hinder understanding.” They support disabled people in their daily life by illustrating a variety of activities, from going to the doctor to riding a horse. Presented in the form of magnetic or plastic stickers, the images make it possible for people with language difficulties to express their emotions or needs. They can also be helpful for people who don’t speak French. “The illustrations help people navigate their surroundings and find their way in public institutions, at home, and in the street. The idea is to make it easier for them to get around.”

The stickers designed by 630°EST, which will soon be available for purchase from the company’s website, are an essential tool for understanding one’s environment and facilitating mobility. Used primarily in specialist schools, more and more parents are requesting these image kits. “We realised that there was real demand from parents to improve the daily lives of their children with autism or Down’s syndrome.” The images can help these children to carry out daily tasks such as washing their hands, setting the table and making their beds. They can also help schedule activities using timetables or selection tables. “We think that environments should adapt to their users, not the other way round. Because disabilities are often just situational,” concludes Anne Perriaux.

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