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Source: Settlement Services International

Supporting aspiring entrepreneurs living with a disability

A new initiative aims to assist people living with disability to start their own business through a series of workshops, along with feedback and individual support.

IgniteAbility Small Business Start-ups is expanding its workshops program, which supports people of refugee background, to provide people with disabilities with the skills, knowledge, and network to put their business ideas into action.

A Settlement Services International (SSI) initiative, the program addresses the unemployment gap among people with disabilities, which is more than twice the rate from people without a disability. More than 4 million Australians, or 18 per cent of the population, live with a disability.

IgniteAbility’s workshops have assisted with the success of 60 small businesses so far.

“So far, the program has worked with over 220 entrepreneurs, and we are dedicated to reaching hundreds more to bring the ideas and business ambitions of people with disabilities to life,” Jacqui Gilligan, Head of Commercial Operations from SSI said.

“Currently, too many people with disabilities are of prime working age and want to work, but are challenged by barriers to joining the workforce or starting their own venture. Our programs aim to enable meaningful employment to support people with disabilities to establish financial independence and to support their overall well-being.”

The program will consist of seven initial workshops sessions, followed by a day for individual support and feedback on their business or business idea by IgniteAbility facilitators. Participants will be provided with free and confidential support from locations that best suit them along with networking opportunities in areas like marketing and financial management.

The three-hour workshops will outline the role of the owner/ founder in a business, how to assess the strength of a business or business idea, the importance of networking, and the difference between a hobby and a business.

“I think it’s fantastic that IgniteAbility exists because I feel there is a real gap in the disability sector,” said Michelle Brown, an award-winning artist living with multiple sclerosis who was able to build on her established business, Michelle Brown Art Studio, through the program.

“Income is a main issue for people with disability so it’s giving them another outlet and another way that they might be able to get an income for themselves and feel that self-worth. I believe Ignite has really filled that gap and helped a lot of people, including myself.”

To sign up for a IgniteAbility Small Business Start-ups workshop, click here.

READ ALSO: New incubator program to help Australian migrant-led startups

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Rhea Laxmi Nath

Rhea Laxmi Nath

Rhea L Nath is a Sydney-based writer and editor. In 2022, she was named Young Journalist of the Year at the NSW Premier's Multicultural Communications Awards.

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