Federal Disability Entrepreneurship Resources
The federal government has collected and published a wide range of information to assist entrepreneurs with disabilities to become successful. As published by the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), these assets include:
Entrepreneurship Resources — Information about self-employment and starting a business from the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), a free service of ODEP.
Small Business Administration (SBA) — Federal agency that provides assistance to current and prospective small business owners.
Road to Self-Sufficiency: A Guide to Entrepreneurship for Youth with Disabilities — Guide that shows how entrepreneurship education can be implemented and offers suggestions on how to introduce self-employment as an option for all youth, including youth with disabilities.
SCORE Small Business Mentors — Seasoned business professionals help entrepreneurs start businesses, grow companies, and create jobs in local communities. Find a SCORE location near you.
Self-Employment: What to Know to Be Your Own Boss — Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on self-employment.
START-UP — ODEP initiated START-UP, a three-year grant project, in 2007 to identify policies and practices then in place that either made it difficult for individuals with disabilities to become self-employed or supported them in becoming self-employed. As part of the initiative, three states (Alaska, Florida, and New York) were awarded grants to pilot new innovative models for assisting individuals with disabilities to start businesses. A fourth grant established a national technical assistance center, Self-Employment Technical Assistance, Resources, & Training (START-UP/USA), to provide information and guidance about promoting self-employment for disabilities to the state grantees, as well as serving as a national resource for individuals and agencies wanting to pursue self-employment goals for people with disabilities.
Self-Employment for People with Disabilities (PDF) is the final report of the START-UP initiative. It describes the barriers experienced by the four grantees, the self-employment models tested, the achievements of the grant programs, and case studies of several individuals with disabilities who successfully became self-employed. The report also makes recommendations for adoption by agencies and individuals for realizing self-employment goals.
Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) — SBDC advisors provide aspiring and current small business owners a variety of free business consulting and low-cost training services.
How to Write a Business Plan — Online training course from the Small Business Administration explains the importance of business planning, defines, and describes the components of a business plan, and provides access to sample plans and resources that can help you develop a plan for your business.
USA.gov Start Your Own Business — Resources to help you start your own business, including information on programs to help military veterans and minorities become entrepreneurs.
State Disability Entrepreneurship Resources
Road to Self-Sufficiency: A Guide to Entrepreneurship for Youth with Disabilities is published by the National Collaborative on Workforce & Disability for Youth (NCWDB), and is a great resource for fans of Born for Business and anyone interested in local resources on disability and entrepreneurship. This guide is designed to support new entrepreneurs, their families and those who support them. Appendix A of this guide contains a special section detailing state specific programs to support disability entrepreneurship including:
Iowa – Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program (EWD)
New Jersey – Disability and Non-Profit Micro Loan Fund, Inc.
Wisconsin – Dept. of Workforce Development Resources for Self-Employment Resources for Self-Employment
For California-based fans of Born for Business, the California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) can help clients with disabilities:
directly through their dedicated Self-Employment Program
develop their own Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE)
access Assistive Technology (AT)
connect to the California Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
The Chicago-based Chicagoland Entrepreneurship Education for People with Disabilities (CEED) Project is an organization that is dedicated to the intersection of disability and entrepreneurship. Their resources include:
Accessing Entrepreneurship: A Community Resource Guide for Entrepreneurs with Disabilities
Understanding Disability & Entrepreneurship
Disability Holiday Gift Guides
In order to find more state-specific entrepreneurship resources to help you on your business journey, please visit the Job Accommodation Network (JAN)’s interactive resource map.
Resources for Individuals Receiving SSI or SSDI Benefits
For people with disabilities interested in exploring entrepreneur opportunities but are currently receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, here are some resources and options:
For those on SSI – Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) is a program for developing your plans and achieving your goals.
For those on SSDI – Social Security’s Ticket to Work (Ticket) program can be directed to help you launch a small business and become self-employment.