1. What is the Global Network?
  2. Who are the members of the Global Network for Entrepreneurs with Disabilities?
  3. What does the Network do to help develop successful businesses run by people with disabilities?
  4. What other benefits does the Global Network for Entrepreneurs with Disabilities provide?
  5. Are there characteristics common to Entrepreneurs with Disability?
  6. What makes entrepreneurship a good choice for a businessperson with a disabling condition?
  7. What are the advantages of doing business with service providers with disability?
  8. Are there other economic benefits of doing business with this sector?
  9. What benefits does The Network offer to Corporate Sponsors?

1. What is the Global Network?

The Global Network for Entrepreneurs with Disabilities was formed in early 2010 to initiate a call to action to change international policy, practice, and participation of disabled people in developing and building their own successful businesses.

The founders believe that around the world, there are many thousands of potentially successful business owners who are:

  • In business now, but not making the most of it
  • Ready to start-up but facing a variety of obstacles
  • Thinking about starting a business, but are not yet skilled enough to progress their ideas

To achieve their potential these current and potential entrepreneurs require encouragement, support and reliable information.

2. Who are the members of the Global Network for Entrepreneurs with Disabilities?

We are:

  • Business owners and advocates with and without disability who have started and continue to run our businesses successfully.
  • Business owners who operate across many types of business and sectors.
  • Members of the Network are residents of Australia, Canada, England, Holland, Scotland, Spain
  • and the USA.

Members from other nations are joining everyday.

Network members are passionate and committed to the concept of building this unique and important organisation.

3. What does the Network do to help develop successful businesses run by people with disabilities?

  • Provide a global resource of information put together by business leaders and entrepreneurs  to which potential business owners with disability can turn at any stage of their business journey.
  • Offer a dedicated leading edge accessible website forming a repository of web based resources and information.
  • Share our expertise, first hand experiences, provide case studies, and leverage our contacts/connections.
  • Help people explore what is possible and prepare others for their journey with one-on-one mentoring.
  • Provide encouragement because we have confronted (and in some cases still are facing) thechallenges and barriers of business start-ups and ongoing operation with a disability.
  • Build community, dignity, and self-determination through a market place for disabled and non-disabled business people to connect and collaborate for mutual benefit.

Note:  Visitors to our website may notice that we use the phrase “disabled people” – which is the preferred language in the UK, and the phrase “people with disabilities” reflecting the “people first” movement in the US, Australia and elsewhere.

4. What other benefits does the Global Network for Entrepreneurs with Disabilities provide?

The Network provides an opportunity to present a positive representation of disabled people as dynamic, creative “can-do” people with the same drives and ambitions as all other business people and entrepreneurs.

5. Are there characteristics common to Entrepreneurs with Disability?

Founding Member Simon Cox, Owner of Diverse Matters in North Yorkshire, UK,  has 20 years experience within the employment development field.  Following are his observations of characteristics which are common to Entrepreneurs with Disability:

EMPOWERMENT/ENABLING:  A “can do” attitude.

CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION - because we’re good at ideas and problem solving.

RESPECT FOR SHARED EXPERIENCE – overcoming barriers/discrimination

INVOLVEMENT AND PARTICIPATION – growing networks/connections

SELF-DETERMINATION NOT CHARITY – because respect comes from the control that can be exerted

LEARNING AND SKILLS

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT & GROWTH – opportunities and collaborations

CULTURAL DIVERSITY – to ensure we are inclusive, aware and what we do effectively transcends borders and continents with dignity and respect

6. What makes entrepreneurship a good choice for a businessperson with a disabling condition?

Entrepreneurship offers the businessperson flexibility:  to provide their own accommodation if necessary, to be able to attend to special needs like physicians appointments, to be able to balance family life and business.  In addition, the widespread use of the internet provides ample opportunity to share and access resources.  And finally, the entrepreneur can be more flexible in sidestepping negative consequences of disability prejudice by targeting clients and client companies who value inclusiveness.

7. What are the advantages of doing business with service providers with disability?

According to Founding Member John Little, CEO of the worldwide Successful Resumes organization, “there are some really pragmatic reasons. Always assuming the PwD (person with a disability) is competent and provides good products or services, doing business with them will contribute to another PwD being successful in business, as opposed to being another unemployment statistic. That person as a successful business owner will also pay their local and federal taxes, they may employ others and generally, doing business with them will broaden their and their employees/families’ economic participation in the wealth of the community, when they may otherwise be sidelined.“

8. Are there other economic benefits of doing business with this sector?

Founding Member Debra Ruh is CEO & Founder of TecAccess LLC, a one-of-a-kind telecommuting model that allows the world’s highest skilled technologists, many of whom happen to also have disabilities, to work from their homes, rehab facilities, and hospital rooms.  According to the TecAccess website “There are over 60 million Americans with disabilities and 700 million worldwide. In the US people with disabilities have an aggregate annual income of more than $1 trillion and well over $220 billion in discretionary income, representing an untapped market and prized consumer niche.”

And according to John Varley, CEO Barclays (UK) “We believe, from our own experience, that those organizations that signal their commitment to diversity and inclusion are reaping increasing commercial benefits.”

9. What benefits does The Network offer to Corporate Sponsors?

Supporting The Network grows business alliances internationally and promotes corporate social responsibility and its benefits including:

  • Enhanced corporate or brand reputation. image and value
  • Increased desire for a product or service associated with a cause
  • Increased employee loyalty, commitment and morale
  • Improved customer loyalty
  • Improved culture within the organization