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Announcing: The Entrepreneurs With Disabilities Project

Great news! A three-month project has just been approved through HRDC Social Partnerships division. Western Diversification Canada has also supported this research initiative. Although the time frame is short, we anticipate the outcomes will be significant.

A considerable amount of work has been done in the last several years in the area of research and programming to find delivery mechanisms to support persons with disabilities to reach their entrepreneurial aspirations. As many Centres learn through projects such as CAILC's "Navigating the Waters" and other outreach projects, people with disabilities face barriers that other Canadians don't face when exploring entrepreneurship.

The four provincial divisions of Western Diversification are supporting and/or contributing to this project in partnership with HRDC.

Essentially it is hoped that the foremost outcome of this project will be that consumers will be better prepared to embark on an entrepreneurial journey. Further, another outcome will be that the rate of loans that go into default will be reduced as a result of the implementation at ILRC's (Independent Living Resource Centres), Community Futures Centres, and other organizations of a "Best Practices" guide for the delivery of pre-entrepreneurial support to people with disabilities.

People with disabilities will meet at focus groups in each of the Western provinces that will be held at ILRC's or other organizations to discuss what works and what doesn't work and also what is needed for entrepreneurship development. The expertise of people with disabilities will help to ensure that the resource tool is a remarkable success. The focus groups will be organized by Moira Jones of M. Jones Consulting. Moira brings to this project extensive knowledge about entrepreneurship and a keen awareness of Independent Living.

Another important component of the project involves the development of a "Report Card" that will encapsulate the work that has been completed as well as the work that remains to be done in the report entitled "Agenda for Change". This Report Card will help to continue to guide the work of communities that are opening doors for people with disabilities in the area of Entrepreneurship.

We are excited about both of these important pieces of work that will help ILRC's to better meet the needs of persons with disabilities who have aspirations towards self-employment.

Source: CAILC News Bulletin, Spring 2002 Issue, Volume 7, Number 1, Page 8.