Self-employment

The Fast Track Inclusion Trust fulfills its social innovation vision by carrying out targeted research that is directly applicable to enrich the everyday life quality of families living with disabilities. Since it is proven that peer-learning is the most effective way to learn, we plan to systematically track and disseminate successes already achieved so that others can readily adapt them to their circumstances. There are many instances where families could and should help themselves – to free disability services capacity to assist their clients more efficiently. 

In the context of disability a micro-enterprise is a small business which is set up based around a person’s abilities and strengths. Micro enterprise provides people with valued social roles – a vital tool to create full participation in the community, opportunities for financial gain, as well as social networks for people sharing interests. The key to developing a micro enterprise is to look at what the person’s skills and interests are. The main points are:
  • Be creative!  
  • Don’t underestimate people’s ability 
  • The possibilities are endless! 
  • Develop a vision and then an action plan 
  • Because micro enterprise is based around an individual – it can cater for all people regardless of their support needs.
Hear below what Cam has to say about leading his business.


As disabled youth mature, the need to live meaningfully whilst contributing becomes more acute. Striving to become financially independent rather than collect a benefit, many are unable to cope with the intricate social side of the workplace thus remain unemployable. Their only hope may be to shape their own opportunity by getting help answering the burning question ‘Could I start my own business?’

This is possible through a storytelling methodology enabling them to learn from peers who manage their own microbusinesses. This project implements Social Innovation as defined by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship in Oxford - new ideas that work to meet pressing unmet needs and improve peoples’ lives - about old and new methods for mobilizing the ubiquitous intelligence that exists within any society.

We aim to collate the first peer-learning resource of its kind that disabled youth and their families can access either on their own or with the assistance of support workers. The material will contain practical details explaining different options and scenarios. The self-help resource will be distributed in an engaging video format describing the different areas to consider when planning a microbusiness. This proof of concept will be tested with a sample of disabled youth and their families in partnership with service providers we collaborate with. Based on 2 decades of experience in this field, we are confident that this pilot will provide tangible evidence that disabled youth benefit from exposure to these ideas.

View additional documentation http://tinyurl.com/Disabled-entrepreneurship
As an example of materials targeted to parents, a father describes how a microbusiness changed his son's (and his famiy's) whole life - professional and social.

Future initiatives will enable us to assemble a body of knowledge from disabled youth themselves to teach their peers.

We are interested in finding out how disabled people can take charge of their life by creating their own business rather than hoping to be offered a job.

Please contact Annick Janson for more information or to discuss how you can contribute!
email: fast.track.inclusion.trust@gmail.com - mobile: 027 288 1949 
Some links to examples from NZ and overseas.
        Palmerston North - www.fastnz.org
        Nova Scotia – www.capre.org.nz
        Western Australia – www.cam-can.com.au
        Brisbane – www.ncec.com.au
Screenshot (not active) of our WEKA page below - WEKA is the website dedicated to distributing disability-related information:


Resources

DVD about Disabled entrepreneurs: Watch this great DVD produced in the UK with stories of 7 people with disabilities who have thrived in their own businesses: http://inclusivefilms.org/self-employment

Adam prepares pet food and bedding. His father helped Adam set up the enterprise, and an enthusiastic retailer who sells Adam’s produce – click here.
Joe delivers eggs to hundreds of appreciative customers. Joe and his mother reveal how it works and their plans to franchise the business model – click here
Matt is a gardener, who takes us round where he works and talks about the range of jobs he does and the pleasure he gets from gardening - click here.
Marianne is a talented artist. She describes her technique, how she got started and how she markets her cards and fine art prints – click here.
miEnterprise’s co-founder, Jon Pitts talks about the co-operative approach - click here

Sue shows us some of her food preparation skills and describes how she gets her produce to market and what she gains from her entreprise - click here

Jill demonstrates some of the cooking she does and describes what she has gained from her business and outlines her future ambitions. Her cousin, Steven, sums up the family’s delight  at Jill’s success – click here





Disabled entrepreneurs 

Most resources mentioned in the microbusiness section of this website are European or US-based. New Zealand-based resources are scarce - this is the reason we are engaging in this area!

Online microbusiness models - useful comparison between business models.



Handbooks and Practical Guides

 Setting up a Micro-enterprise, a toolkit for Disabled Entrepreneurs [UK; screenshot below].

EQUAL - Inclusive and Social Entrepreneurship, A description of 20 Innovative solutions from Europe [screenshot below]


MIENTERPRISE website - full of resources/stories [www.mienterprise.org.uk]

Guides from Learningdisabilities.org.uk and The Camden Society 


       Great guide with examples of working microbusinesses: download here

Guide http://www.brothersofcharityclare.ie/assets/Uploads/pdfs/Good-Practice-Reviewfinal-Lets-Get-Started.pdf
Guy Turnbull also has extensive experience in setting up Social Enterprises.
The Washington DC-based GRAAMEN Foundation works in the developing world to relieve poverty by helping people create their microenterprises.

Micro-enterprise case studies: www.communitycatalysts.co.uk [screenshot below]



http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_emp/---ifp_skills/documents/publication/wcms_194822.pdf


This is why disabled people should invest in themselves and test self-employment options!

Other resources/links connected to supported-employment or job development
General articles and resources about disabled people and open employment
Permanent URL to this page: http://tinyurl.com/FTITrust-microbusiness