In July this year, Diversityworks Trust launched one of our newest and most exciting business projects. “Unique Business” is a programme funded by the MSD’s Employment Innovation Fund, and led by Trust Director Philip Patston and his associate, Lesley Slade. Both Philip and Lesley have personal experience of self-employment and disability and have proven skills in starting up, developing and maintaining small businesses while managing the impact of disability.
Eleven people who experience disability and want to become self-employed, for both ideological and practical reasons, have now started the six-months of intensive mentoring and coaching.
The programme began with an all-day workshop held at MTG RM on 11 July. This was a great chance for the participants to meet each other, network and begin to develop their vision and business concepts. Since then, participants are keeping in touch via an online business hub. This site also has some useful practical information about funding and strategizing to help get our participants off the ground.
There are a range of great business ideas in the group, including artistic endeavors, accessible documentation, a web-based travel resource, and an innovative gardening service.
By the end of the year, we hope to set up an ongoing network so that the small business owners can share skills, administrative services, web development, and other operational costs.
Each person will 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.
We’ll update you as our participants progress through the programme!
Check out the participants at the first Unique Business gathering here: https://picasaweb.google.com/110967392405766136039/UniqueBusiness