Many individuals with disabilities have difficulty securing and maintaining traditional job placements with an employer. For some, self-employment and entrepreneurship opportunities represent alternative employment and economic self-sufficiency strategies. For others, self-employment may offer more autonomy, a stronger sense of dignity or a greater opportunity to follow career aspirations.
There are numerous benefits of self-employment for vocational rehabilitation clients, including greater customization of the job and higher wages. States can support business owners with disabilities and individuals interested in self-employment by adapting existing business development policies and programs to be disability-inclusive. States can develop new policies to foster self-employment and entrepreneurship for people with disabilities.
State Policy Options
A bipartisan task force of legislative and executive officials convened in 2016 to create a policy framework for supporting self-employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for people with disabilities.
Inclusive Workforce Development
States are encouraged to ensure that state workforce development systems support entrepreneurship and self-employment as viable employment options for people with disabilities. Steps states can take include:
- Formalizing entrepreneurship and self-employment as a viable employment strategy for individuals with disabilities in state workforce service delivery.
- Through education and outreach, positioning entrepreneurship and self-employment as possible career strategies for individuals with disabilities.
State Procurement, Business Certification and Financial Incentives
States can include businesses owned by people with diabilities in targeted state procurement, certification and financial incentive policies. Steps states can take include:
- Exploring opportunities to support disability-owned businesses through existing procurement and contracting systems
- Establishing a fast-tracked certification process for disability-owned businesses to gain access contract/vender opportunities and take advantage of procurement goals.
- Exploring tax and financial incentive structures to support disability entrepreneurship start-up and/or growth.