When Kelly Twichel was an occupational therapy (OT) graduate student in San Diego, the curriculum included a challenge to develop a device to help people with disabilities in their daily lives. Kelly was inspired to help local adaptive surfers independently travel across sand with dignity. The portable pathway prototype she and her partner developed became an instant hit. Recognizing that a product like this could potentially help millions of people with disabilities have better access to the outdoors, the idea for Access Trax was born. Kelly’s journey to entrepreneurship began with support from SCORE. She spoke with different volunteers who could share expertise in insurance, business operations and finance, all free of charge and much appreciated. She explains: “It was SO nice to talk with the different SCORE mentors who had strong skills in the areas I needed help with. I learned there are people out there who want you to succeed.”Kelly graduated from OT school in 2017 and started Access Trax less than six months later, with a focus on promoting inclusion and cost-effective accessibility. She was awarded the FedEx Small Business Grant Grand Prize in 2020, which helped propel her business to the next level. Access Trax is now serving a growing number of families with members in wheelchairs who need a better surface for their driveway or yard, as well as corporate and nonprofit clients seeking to expand accessibility or for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The locally-sourced Trax smooths the way for wheelchairs on grass, gravel and sand and can also provide better access across snow. Access Trax serves customers in 15 countries. Kelly’s advice to budding entrepreneurs includes seeking help from SCORE: “You must find mentors! You can’t do this alone and you don’t have to. It’s so easy to make mistakes but SCORE mentors can help you avoid them.”

Kids using Access Trax

What's special about your business? 

Kelly was inspired to help local adaptive surfers independently travel across sand with dignity. The portable pathway prototype she and her partner developed became an instant hit.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a small business? 

“You must find mentors! You can’t do this alone and you don’t have to. It’s so easy to make mistakes but SCORE mentors can help you avoid them.”