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Roswell resident co-founds company aiding special needs community
by Nicole Dow
June 11, 2014 11:21 AM | 1674 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Roswell resident Jonathan Yardley has joined forces with his longtime friend Meg Harris, of Northeast Harbor, Maine, to develop SpecialGlobe.com, a travel website for families with special-needs children.

The website will offer destination guides, travel reviews and articles and will serve as an online community for families of special-needs children to connect.

Harris, the company’s CEO, came up with the idea for the site after experiencing difficulties planning trips for her own family. Her 8-year-old daughter, Eliza, has atypical Rett syndrome, a neurodevelopmental genetic disorder.

“I traveled a lot as a kid,” Harris said. “I wanted to be able to give that same gift back to my kids, including Eliza. What I found was that when I researched travelling, there were very few resources out there for families like mine.”

A beta site for Special Globe is up and running, and the duo expects the full site to be operational by mid-August, said Yardley, the company’s president. They have formed partnerships with special-needs organizations to provide expert content, Expedia to provide booking discounts for flights and hotels, and media outlets including the Travel Channel and USA Today to help spread their brand.

“The big differences between what you see on the site now [and the full version of the site] are going to be some of that partner content and also the destination guides,” Yardley said.

Harris said so far the website has been funded with money from angel investors, friends and family, but as the company grows, the plan is to bring in revenue through advertising, sponsorships and booking revenue.

“What we would like to be able to do is to filter out 1 percent of our net sales to give back to special-needs organizations that support our mission,” she said.

Though Harris and Yardley work together virtually, due to physical distance, Yardley said the company is a Georgia LLC business and he hopes to one day have office space in the Roswell area.

He said his hope for Special Globe is that it inspires all families to be able to travel successfully and that it encourages the travel industry to open its doors and be more inclusive and accommodating of those with special needs.

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