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Persons with Disabilities and Entrepreneurship

  • Publish Date : 2009/07/04 - (Rev. 2010/06/24)
  • Author : Disabled World


Twice as many persons with disabilities are starting their own businesses as people who are non-disabled.

Main Document

The United States Census Department states that twice as many persons with disabilities are starting their own businesses as people who are non-disabled; something that does not surprise me one single bit. When you do not find the accommodations you need among employers - make your own.

Around fifteen-percent of persons with disabilities who are working are self-employed, versus the less than ten-percent of non-disabled people with their own business. More of us than ever are starting to follow suit, starting up our own businesses.

Starting our own businesses presents a certain number of unique challenges, but it also gives us more flexibility, as well as more control over our working environment. Having our own business gives us the opportunity to succeed and accommodate our specific needs. Despite the many challenges involved, people with disabilities are succeeding at their own businesses at an incredible rate. Around forty-percent of all home-based businesses are owned and operated by people with disabilities.

Determination and stamina are major assets when it comes to success, this much is for sure. Going into business for yourself is a major undertaking. It requires an investment not only of time, but in effort and money. How are people with disabilities doing this and succeeding? Fortunately, there are people who have gone down this road before.

There are a number of both government and government-authorized financial programs and resources that can help people with disabilities to start and operate their own business. These resources can help to provide things such as business operating information, business and market development advice, and much more. Some of them provide assistance in person, while others provide it through the web.

For instance; take a look at: www.business.gov/industries/disabled-people/ This site has a series of links leading to information that is valuable to people with disabilities who want to start their own business, keep it growing, and manage it in the meantime. There are things such as links to self-employment information, online seminars, and guides that both introduce and address factors that entrepreneurs with disabilities have to deal with.

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) presents consulting, mentoring, and technical assistance to people with disabilities who want to start their own business, as well as their family members and service providers. You can find their site at: www.jan.wvu.edu/entre/. JAN works with everyone on an individual basis! They also have a phone number you can reach them at: (800)526-7234 (V), (877)781-9403 (TTY) or 1-800-232-9675/V/TTY.

Need some financial help to get a business of your own going? You are not alone. The Small Business Association (SBA) has various low-interest programs that are there to help people with disabilities for the very purpose of starting their own business. You can contact the Small Business Association at: www.sba.gov.

You might also take a look at The Abilities Fund: www.abilitiesfund.org. The Abilities Fund is the first nationwide nonprofit community developer and financial institution to focus entirely on the expansion of entrepreneurial opportunities for persons with disabilities. They provide a combination of training, financial products, advisory supports, and technical assistance services to persons with disabilities.

Be sure to visit the Disabled Businesspersons Association. The organization is dedicated to helping people with disabilities maximize their potential in the business world, to work with vocational rehabilitation, business and government. They encourage the participation and enhancement of people with disabilities in the workforce. Visit them at: www.disabledbusiness.com

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