30-05-2023 08:36

Using your ears to read

For people with a reading disability, reading is both time-consuming and requires a lot of effort. The speech synthesis application TorTalk for computers and phones helps people who prefer to listen to texts instead of reading them. This means they can be more efficient and feel less stressed when studying or working. TorTalk is the winner of Nordea’s entrepreneurial award Funkoprenör of the year 2023.
Årets Funkoprenör 2023
Tor Ghai, founder of TorTalk.

Five to eight percent of the Swedish population are dyslectics. The majority of dyslectics will misread, get stuck or skip words, which makes reading an effort. Despite the support and tools available, only one out of ten brings this issue to their employer’s attention due to negative experiences in the past.

We all have different psychological, physical and cognitive abilities, but modern society is often not adapted to people’s differences. We need more creativity and innovation to make our society more inclusive and diverse. At Nordea, we see the growth potential in business ideas with ability variations as their starting point.

Funkoprenör of the year was established by Nordea in 2019 and is awarded to companies or entrepreneurs with business ideas that promote people's differences. This year, the winner is TorTalk.

What does TorTalk do?

Since 2013, TorTalk develops speech synthesis applications for computers and phones. Their tools enable dyslectics to read just as well, or even better, than the average person. The computer application can be used with any software and document, for example when preparing for a meeting or reading instructions or emails. The phone application can be used to photograph a text, retrieve pdf documents or web pages and listen to them, similar to an audio book. 

TorTalk's users often have dyslexia, ADHD or simply find it more efficient to listen to texts. Through their innovations, TorTalk hopes to inspire a better work environment for employees and students with reading disabilities. Their ambition is now to increase efficiency in the business sector, for both companies and their employees. Dyslexia is overrepresented in professional categories such as engineers and entrepreneurs.

“I have seen how our tool allowed university students with reading disabilities to flourish. The right tools can make all the difference for students with dyslexia, and this of course also applies to their working life. We are very honoured that Nordea has awarded us Funkoprenör of the year. This will help us raise awareness of the actual need in the business sector for the kind of accessibility and efficiency tool that we offer,” says TorTalk’s founder, Tor Ghai.

The right tools can make all the difference for students with dyslexia, and this of course also applies to their working life.

Tor Ghai, founder of TorTalk.

Nordea's aim is that Funkoprenör of the year will lead to more people being included

With this award, Nordea wants to encourage and support businesses and entrepreneurs that go the extra mile to include more people with ability variations.

Åsa Nilsson Billme, mångfaldschef Nordea.“We want to make society more inclusive. Inclusion and diversity make us all better and are key to a sustainable future. We also get insights and learn more about the initiatives that really make a difference for people. TorTalk helps more people to be successful in their education and at work, thereby enabling them to realise their dreams,” says Åsa Nilsson Billme, head of diversity at Nordea.  TorTalk.

We want to make society more inclusive. Inclusion and diversity make us all better and are key to a sustainable future.

Åsa Nilsson Billme, Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Nordea.

The winner of Funkoprenör of the year is awarded an amount of SEK 100 000 and will have access to Nordea’s Startup & Growth team and support in the form of financial guidance, advice on their business model and networking – based on their own wishes and needs.

From early 2023, it was possible to submit applications and nominations for Funkoprenör of the year. In addition to the winner, two of the finalists will get SEK 25 000 each, along with support from Nordea in the form of legal advice and access to Nordea's foundation administration. The finalists are:

  • Funki
    With musical instruments adapted for people with intellectual disabilities, Funki has created a completely new way of communicating and interacting through music. The instruments can be used together with other Funki instruments, but also with classical instruments such as the piano or guitar. This allows for unique musical collaborations between all kinds of people.
  • UNIQ
    A non-profit organisation managed by people with intellectual disabilities, in collaboration with their school, Ekebyhovs special primary school. UNIQ aims to increase knowledge about intellectual disabilities and reduce prejudice. They work actively to put focus on this group from a competency and accessibility perspective. Among other things, they operate a web shop where they develop and sell products. They have also published a book and give lectures about entrepreneurship and intellectual disabilities to policy-makers, civil servants and other schools.

Celebration of Funkoprenör of the year – both onsite and online

The award was presented on Tuesday 30 May at Nordea’s headquarters in Stockholm. In connection with the award ceremony Nordea also hosted a talk about how we can continue to enable the inclusion of people with ability variations in society and in the workplace.

Read more about how diversity and inclusion is a natural part of Nordea’s business activities and read about Nordea’s sustainability targets.

The jury's motivation

"TorTalk strives to improve their product using creative and dynamic methods. Through well-established collaborations with universities and schools, they enable talents with different types of ability variations to compete and succeed in the labour market – on their own terms. With this award, we wish to further the continued development of their product and business.”

Diversity & inclusion