Answered Questions is a monthly resource for the Spanish language Disability Community that fills an information need. This month’s question is Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I am unemployed. Now, I am thinking of starting my own business. As a person with a disability, what do I need to know before I start and are there services or supports available to help me? This edition of Answered Questions includes items that discuss the Reclaiming Employment platform; promotion of entrepreneurship among low-income youth with disabilities; perspectives on people with intellectual disabilities (ID) as business owners; self-employment and people with psychiatric disabilities; promotion of self-employment and entrepreneurship for people with ID; and more. More about Answered Questions.
The project, Reclaiming Employment: Self-Employment Resources for Mental Health Service Users (in English), develops and evaluates Reclaiming Employment™ (RE) (in English), an online platform that provides support for people with psychiatric disabilities to pursue self-employment and entrepreneurship. The aim of RE is to improve employment and workforce participation outcomes by increasing competencies for people with psychiatric disabilities who wish to become self-employed, and ability to sustain and grow for those already operating small businesses. RE will include a single sign-on library of resources through curated external links; courses to provide asynchronous, self-placed learning; and a moderated social support platform/network.
The project, Promoting Entrepreneurship Among Low-Income Youth with Disabilities (in English), develops and evaluates a school-based model to promote employment and/or entrepreneurship outcomes among transition-aged minority youth with disabilities from low-income communities. The project identifies specific practices and supports that can improve entrepreneurship outcomes by conducting in-depth interviews with students who were able to succeed in starting their own businesses as well as interviewing teachers, vocational rehabilitation (VR) administrators/counselors involved in the process. The project identifies the best practices, supports, and skills, as well as barriers, to transition to entrepreneurship for minority youth with disabilities from low-income communities to be incorporated into future intervention models.
From the NARIC Collection:
The article, Perspectives on people with intellectual disabilities as business owners (in English), discusses a study that identified the facilitators, barriers, and outcomes from microenterprises owned by people with intellectual disabilities (ID) from several stakeholder perspectives. A key facilitator for successful microenterprise was the availability of, and continued access to, three pillars of formal support (microenterprise consultant, personal assistant, and an enterprise management group). Key barriers identified by the study were funding limitations, role confusion between supports, and problems recruiting supports with business skills. Outcomes for the business owners with ID included personal/emotional growth, skills development, autonomy, having a meaningful role, and contributing to their communities. The study found that microenterprise can provide people with ID with an employment pathway tailored to their goals, capacities, and interests.
Research In Focus:
According to research, people with psychiatric disabilities have low employment rates, even when compared to people with other types of disabilities. The article, Self-Employment May Be a Promising Path to Build Income for People with Psychiatric Disabilities, discusses a NIDILRR-funded study where researchers surveyed self-employed people with psychiatric disabilities to find out about their experiences in the workforce, their reasons for choosing self-employment, and the nature of their small businesses. The researchers found that all the respondents felt that having a flexible work schedule and control over their work was somewhat or a very important to their choice. They also found that more than 90% of the respondents rated work-life balance, earning extra income, and the opportunity for innovation as somewhat or very important to their decision. The authors of this article noted that self-employment may be a promising option for people with psychiatric disabilities to earn income, do meaningful work, and manage their own workplace accommodations to maximize their success. This article is also available in English.
The article from iSocial Foundation, La Inclusivadora, Center for the Promotion of Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship for People with Intellectual Disabilities, discusses La Inclusivadora – a project launched by the Catalan Down Syndrome Foundation (FCSD, acronym in Spanish) with the intention of creating a work and training space to promote self-employment for people with Down syndrome or other intellectual disabilities who want to start entrepreneurial projects. La Inclusivadora provides courses and workshops to build basic knowledge about the use of the technology, among other topics, and encourages interaction between small business owners with and without intellectual disabilities, while creating a more diverse and enriching work environment. This article is also available in English.
The article, The Inclusion, Entrepreneurship, and Employment of People with Disabilities: Updates and Proposals, discusses a study that looked at the inclusion, professional training, entrepreneurship, and employment of people with disabilities. The researchers analyzed the profile of entrepreneurs with disabilities in Spain and found several themes: the importance of the interaction between business and universities to promote the entrepreneurship of people with disabilities and the inclusion of people with functional diversity in university studies, among others. The researchers also looked at the current state of inclusive employment and entrepreneurship to determine what the real needs are of entrepreneurs with disabilities and to define what is and is not entrepreneurship. The authors suggest that more research is needed in relation to self-employment and entrepreneurship among people with disabilities to develop the interventions and supports needed.
- The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) (in English) at the US Department of Labor created a list of self-employment and entrepreneurship organizations and resources (in English), including federal agencies and non-profit organizations, that provide information, mentorship, and other resources for people with disabilities who want to start their own business.
- Spain’s Discapnet created a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help people with disabilities in Spain who are contemplating starting a business. The list also includes relevant information, such as aid, discounts, and more, that is available for setting up a business. Although the information is aimed at people with disabilities in Spain, most of it is applicable to people with disabilities throughout the world.
- NARIC has various resources related to self-employment and entrepreneurship for people with disabilities, including FAQs and brochures:
- NARIC’s FAQ on financial assistance to start a business includes information and links on the Small Business Administration’s loan programs, the Job Accommodation Network’s list of each state’s resources on funding to start a business, and more. This FAQ is also available in English.
- Are you an entrepreneur or business owner with a disability and would like to learn more about hiring other people with disabilities? NARIC’s FAQ on research and resources for hiring people with disabilities includes a variety of resources and research on this topic, including NIDILRR-funded research. This FAQ is also available in English.
- NARIC’s Librarian’s Picks on Employment lists the go-to federal agencies, non-profit organizations, and services that NARIC’s information specialists utilize to assist patrons who would like to start a business or are looking for employment. These organizations are grouped according to topic; for example, Finding Work and Starting Your Own Business. This list is also available in English.
- The ONCE Foundation provides a training program in digital skills and technological professions, Por Talento Digital (By Digital Talent). This program is aimed at building knowledge and technological and digital qualifications of people with disabilities to support their inclusion in employment and self-employment in professions with high demand in the labor market and, in the process, multiply their professional prospects. The training program includes courses on various topics, including digital marketing and communication, postproduction, coding languages, digital professions in the movie industry, among others. The program also includes a blog and offers grants to help students with disabilities pay for their courses.
Each month, we look through the searches on our blog and through the information requests made by our patrons who speak Spanish and pick a topic that fills the largest need. Each resource mentioned above is associated with this month’s information need. We search the various Spanish language news sources and feeds throughout the month to bring you these articles. With the exception of the NIDILRR Projects, From the NARIC Collection, and Further Investigation, all the linked articles and resources are in Spanish – any that are in English will be clearly marked.