Support for young disabled people setting up a business

You’ve looked at all the options and you’ve decided that getting a job is not for you. It could be that you don’t like the idea of having someone else telling you what to do or that you have a great idea for a business and really want to get it off the ground. But can you do it? What obstacles will you have to overcome to get your business up and running?

Well first off, you may be interested to know that a higher percentage of disabled people are self-employed than non-disabled people (18% of the disabled work force compared to 14% of the non-disabled workforce!). So you’re not alone in wanting to go it alone and become an entrepreneur.

Starting your own business is a big step and you’ll need to spend a lot of time researching and planning before you go ahead. Connexions Direct can help you get there by pointing you in the right direction.

Access to Work

There are several organisations that might be able to help you but a good place to start is the Access to Work scheme. They can offer you grant aid for things like paying for a communicator if you are deaf, or specialist equipment or alterations to your work premises. Under the Access to Work scheme, disabled people in self-employment get all ‘approved costs’ paid for. They also give practical help and advice to potential disabled entrepreneurs.

Packages do vary however, so you should contact the disability employment adviser based at your local Jobcentre and they’ll be able to give you more information.

The ADP (Association of Disabled Professionals)

The Disabled Entrepreneurs Network (DEN) is specifically aimed at giving support and encouragement to disabled people with a desire to start their own business. Along with general advice and support they provide self-employed disabled people (as well as those seeking to become self-employed) with:

  • Networking opportunities.
  • Information services.
  • A source of specialist advice to help you get into self-employment.

Young Enterprise

If you want a taster of what it’s like to be your own boss, why not look out for the Young Enterprise scheme in your area?

Young Enterprise is a national education charity with a mission: to inspire and equip young people to learn and succeed through enterprise.

Young Enterprise runs six programmes, each for a different age-group – from 5 to 25+. These are run on a “learning by doing” principle.

The Prince’s Trust

The Prince’s Trust is for 18-30 year olds who want to start a business. It is a new generation of entrepreneurs helping to shape the UK enterprise economy of the future, through their Business Start-up programme.

What does the programme offer?

  • Low interest loans for business ideas rejected by banks, making them a ‘lender of last resort’.
  • Business mentoring for up to three years.
  • A range of other support.
  • Make your mark – start talking ideas.
  • If you are age 13 – 20 and need encouragement to make your ideas become a reality then “Make Your Mark – start talking ideas” could help you.

Who can help?

The ADP (Association of Disabled Professionals) runs a project called the Disabled Entrepreneurs Network (DEN). It aims to provide networking opportunities and information services for self-employed disabled people as well as being a source of specialist advice to help you get into self-employment. Visit their website at www.disabled-entrepreneurs.net/

Young Enterprise is a national education charity with a mission: to inspire and equip young people to learn and succeed through enterprise. Visit their site at www.young-enterprise.org.uk/

The Prince’s Trust is for 18-30 year olds who want to start a business. Visit their site at www.princes-trust.org.uk

Looking for encouragement to get your ideas working? Then visit http://www.gew.org.uk/enterpriseuk

Living Made Easy is run by the Disabled Living Foundation (DLF), a national charity that offers advice, information and training on independent living for people with disabilities, as well as carers.