In my first blog entry 5 years ago, I wrote a tribute to the entrepreneurial spirit of those individuals whose employment journey led them to start their own micro enterprise business. A Micro Enterprise is defined as a small entrepreneurial activity – its guiding principles include:
- Begin with a small amount of money
- Get the business up and running in a short time
- As a business owner, remember time is worth money
- Change happens one person at a time
Proponents of micro enterprise options for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities also point to other potential quality outcomes:
- Increased income, independence, and community integration
- Enhanced self-esteem and quality of life
- Broadened array of choices, including the prospect of becoming an employer
- Holding assets in the corporation, rather than in the individual’s name – when direct income could threaten SSI benefits and Medicaid eligibility
As an association, we have also supported micro enterprises at our annual fall professional development event – re:con. For many years, one of the features of this event has been a Micro Enterprise Mall – an exhibit area for small businesses owned and operated by people with disabilities, selling products and marketing services.
But there is no re:con this year – unfortunately canceled due to the pandemic. Incompass Michigan, however, would like to continue its commitment to the spirit of innovation among small business owners with disabilities by offering a startup grant of $1,000 to offset the costs for launching a new small business, or making an operational change to an existing small business, owned and operated by an individual with a disability, to sell their products or market their services.
To raise the funds for the startup grant, I will be running (jogging, actually) a marathon over the course of 26 days in October – 1 mile each day, 1.2 on the final day – in celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month.