Innovation fund will support disabled people into self-employment


Diversityworks Trust has secured funding from the Ministry of Social Development’s Employment Innovation Fund to support disabled people into self-employment.

Disabled people wishing to become self-employed, particularly those who are currently recipients of Work and Income or ACC income, are invited to apply for a six-month intensive mentoring and coaching programme.

THIS PROGRAMME IS NOW CLOSED.

The programme will be led by Diversityworks Executive Director Philip Patston and Lesley Slade, both of whom have personal experience of self-employment and disability over a combined period of 20 years and have proven skills in starting up, developing and maintaining small businesses while managing the impact of permanent and short-term disability.

The two will work with a group of 10 people to mentor and coach them to develop themselves and support each other to be sustainably self-employed. Modern and agile small business ideology will be used to help people vision, strategise, implement and review their small business concept.

An ongoing network will be created so that the small business owners can share skills, administrative services, web development, and other operational costs.

By the end of six months each person will aim to be established as self-employed — including company, tax and accounting set-up — and be ready to offer a product or service to the market. Each will have an established business framework which will allow them to adapt and grow their business over time. They will have developed skills in management, marketing, product and service development, customer service and social networking.

Funding for support (eg. Workbridge Self-Start and Job Support) will have been identified and applied for. Each will be part of a supportive, small business/self-employment network infrastructure.

At the end of the project each person will also undergo a self-assessment of their confidence and capability to remain self-employed. Further development needs will be identified. Marketing success will be measured through client leads.

Current self-employment support options for disabled people are limited to Workbridge’s Self-Start fund, which requires a comprehensive business plan, projections and business skills, but offers no follow-up. This project will fill this preparation and sustainability gap in current services.

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