Did you know that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with disabilities are almost twice as likely to be self-employed than their peers without disabilities? Self-employment and entrepreneurship offer people with disabilities a viable path to economic independence, one that gets around some of the barriers to traditional employment such as access to transportation, inflexible work schedules, and lack of local opportunities, particularly in rural communities. Launching your own business can be a daunting prospect, but there are tools and services available to help you along the way.
Check out these resources from the NIDILRR grantee community:
- Learn from people who’ve forged their path with these briefs from the study on Workers with Psychiatric Disabilities and Self-Employment through Microenterprise.
- Self-Employment resources developed and curated by the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Employment of People with Physical Disabilities covers self-employment as a customized employment option, selecting a business structure and developing a business plan, marketing, and even information for young entrepreneurs, among other topics.
- Explore their webinars on
- The RRTC on Improving Employment Outcomes for Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities covers Questions and Answers About Self-Employment (PDF) including first steps to starting a business, tracking success and failure, and tapping into resources in the community.
Vocational rehabilitation counselors can play an important role in the self-employment success of their clients with disabilities. Tools and training resources are available to help them support their clients’ dreams of entrepreneurship:
- Self-Employment Online Curriculum from the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities, which is currently studying Rural Self-Employment Opportunities.
- Working with Blind Entrepreneurs who have Hearing Loss in the Randolph-Sheppard BEP Resource Guide from the RRTC on Improving Employment Outcomes for Individuals who are Blind or Visually Impaired.
Outside of the NIDILRR community, there are many resources for both those exploring self-employment and the professionals who can support them along the way:
- The Office of Disability Employment Policy has a large collection of resources on self-employment and entrepreneurship from ODEP-funded projects and elsewhere.
- The Ticket to Work program at the Social Security Administration explores several topics related to self-employment including reaching career goals, finding help on the path, and work incentives.
- If you’re a veteran with a service-connected disability, learn about the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment self-Employment Track from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Want to dig deeper into the research? Our REHABDATA database indexes more than 200,000 articles from the US and internationally.
- Explore NIDILRR-funded research publications on self-employment and entrepreneurship.
- Explore research publications from other sources (English-language publications).
- Explore international research publications.
For assistance in accessing materials indexed in REHABDATA, or to find resources in your community to start your self-employment journey, contact an information specialist today!