Research Looks at People With Disability Being Entrepreneurs
11 August 2016 at 1:28 pm
A new research project will look at how people with disability are taking control and creating their own jobs by becoming entrepreneurs, despite facing considerable economic and social exclusion in Australia.
The study, involving researchers from UTS Business School and a number of partners in the disability services sector, has secured a $235,000 Linkage Grant from the Australian Research Council (ARC).
“People with a disability have a rate of entrepreneurship 50 per cent higher than the Australian average yet we know very little about their story – the barriers they have faced, the strategies they have used to overcome these barriers, the dynamics of their business enterprises and the economic and social contribution they make,” one of the chief investigators on the study Professor Jock Collins said.
“With the rolling out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme there is an opportunity to expand the number of people with a disability who have their own businesses.
“The research project aims to contribute to that in a very real way by piloting a program to help people with a disability start their own enterprises.”
Professor Simon Darcy who is the other chief investigator on the project and also a power wheelchair user said: “We hope to contribute to developing a process to assist a new generation of disability entrepreneurs.
“The introduction of the NDIS will fundamentally change the Australian disability policy and program landscape by replacing a welfare model with an insurance model.
“The outcomes of this project can feed into this new environment by empowering individuals to put entrepreneurship on their agenda.
“This is particularly important at a time when employment rates in the government sector – historically, the largest employer of people with disability – have declined.
“In response to the desperation that people with disability have been feeling with their restricted opportunities, some have taken control of their own lives and created their own employment.”
Violet Roumeliotis, the chief executive of Settlement Services International (SSI), one of the partners in the research project, said the research on entrepreneurship and self-employment of people with a disability in Australia is “well overdue”.
“This research will build on the work that SSI is doing through its Ignite Small Business Start-ups initiative, which supports refugees who face similar barriers in finding employment and choose to start their own small businesses,” she said.