Groups Can Help Disabled Entrepreneurs Get a Start

Article excerpt

Q. I recently became disabled and cannot continue in my current job although I have great working experience in desk-top publishing. I'm thinking about starting my own business. Is there an organization that helps disabled people start a new business? Are there special loan programs, grants or low interest loans for disabled entrepreneurs?

A. Technological advancements have made it possible for entrepreneurs to start a business from their homes, which has increased the number of disabled people starting their own businesses. This may be the only employment option for many individuals with disabilities.

The Disabled Business Persons Association, situated in San Diego (619-594-8805) is the largest such business organization in the nation. It can assist you in the development, evaluation, funding identification and packaging, and marketing of your business. Services are free, and the association publishes a quarterly newsletter. It has assisted more than 10,000 entrepreneurs and professionals with disabilities since 1985. Urban Miyares, association president, said financing a start-up venture today is extremely difficult, whether the owner is disabled or not. And, as having a disability is not recognized as a minority or disadvantaged status by most government agencies, including the U.S. Small Business Administration, traditional and workable funding programs may not be available to a person based on a disability alone. However, depending upon your type of venture, where you live and your employment base - and in some cases your disability - you may qualify for funding consideration through state or local programs. You should investigate those funding opportunities available in your area through a state Small Business Development Center or state representative. The Disabled Business Person's Association can assist you. For information about adaptive advice to help you work at home, contact your state office of rehabilitation. Another resource is the IBM Special Needs Information Referral Center in Atlanta at 800-426-4832 or the Apple Worldwide Disability Solutions Group at 800-600-7808. …