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Creating Opportunities Through Entrepreneurship

On April 16, organizations around the globe observed World Entrepreneurship Day. But small business owners know that the risks and rewards of entrepreneurship are something to celebrate every day, because it takes a special kind of person to create, organize and operate a business. Entrepreneurs are self-starters and risk-takers. They are creative and innovative.  And they are often people with disabilities.  

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2011 people with disabilities were nearly twice as likely to be self-employed than people without disabilities — 11.8 percent compared to 6.6 percent. It's easy to understand why many individuals, both with and without disabilities, pursue entrepreneurship, since self-employment is about self-determination. It can mean independence and the opportunity to make one's own business decisions; the ability to set one's own pace and schedule; and the reduction of transportation problems, particularly when a business is home based.  And with business growth, employment opportunities can be created for others.

Doing business with disability-owned firms is an ideal way for companies to diversify their supply chains and support entrepreneurship at its finest. Finding disability-owned organizations is getting easier thanks to the U.S. Business Leadership Network's® Disability Supplier Diversity Program® (DSDP). This program certifies firms that are 51% or more owned, operated, controlled and managed by individual(s) with disabilities and assists them in making connections to organizations that are interested in their services. Companies of all sizes can use the DSDP to find disability-owned firms and demonstrate their support of entrepreneurs with disabilities. 

Furthermore, a wide range of funding and resources exists to assist individuals with disabilities interested in the option of entrepreneurship and to help self-employed business owners employ people with disabilities. These resources can be valuable tools for those mentoring tomorrow's business leaders. They can help promote entrepreneurship as a promising career option and set individuals with disabilities on an exciting path toward financial independence.

To learn more about disability, self-employment and entrepreneurship, visit www.dol.gov/odep/topics/SelfEmploymentEntrepreneurship.htm.

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