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Business Sense

The Ingredients for Success

In business, expectation and opportunity are two essential, interdependent ingredients for success, regardless of size or industry. Whether good economic times or bad, a business simply can't thrive without a clear vision of success and the chance to demonstrate the value of its goods or services.

Of course, the same holds true for individuals, including individuals with disabilities. When expectation meets opportunity, people with disabilities can and do make important contributions to America's workplaces and economy, as not only employees, but also employers and entrepreneurs.

One such individual is Patty Rivas. Together with members of her family, Ms. Rivas, who has paraplegia, owns and operates Mercado Nica, a convenience market in Derwood, MD. Mercado Nica specializes in packaged products from Central and South America but also stocks staples such as fresh milk, produce and meat. Like many small business owners, Ms. Rivas's daily work runs the gamut, encompassing everything from helping customers, ordering stock and running the register to bookkeeping, paperwork and promotion. And like many small business owners, she often works seven days a week.

Ms. Rivas holds a master's degree in social work and worked as a social worker before becoming an entrepreneur. Her disability was never a consideration in either career. "Everyone around me has always said 'you can do it,' so I just always felt I could," she said. "I don't think a disability should limit someone's opportunities or their goals. We are equal individuals and can do the same work."

To see Ms. Rivas at work - and several other talented individuals with disabilities - view the "I Can" public service announcement on the Campaign for Disability Employment's What Can YOU Do? Web site. While on the site, be sure to visit the employer page to express your commitment to a flexible and inclusive workplace.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month Poster Still Available!

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and the 2009 poster is still available. It's available in both English and Spanish and may be ordered online or downloaded and printed. Best of all, it's free!

For additional news and resources, sign up for ODEP's e-mail updates.