9 Resources for Entrepreneurs with a Disability

Self-employment, until recently has not been seen as a feasible employment goal for those with different challenges; many people believe that having a disability can prevent a person from pursuing their dream of becoming an entrepreneur.

In 2002, I registered my small business, The Writology – it was also the same year my depression was almost unmanageable.

Writing has always been my passion, it’s also my form of therapy. Entrepreneurship made me accountable to my clients, it forced me to work past my depression. I had no alternative but to write and communicate on days when I couldn’t even get out of bed.

Back then, information was hard to find. However, now there are so many resources available for people with disabilities looking to start and/or continue their own business.

Here are 9 resources, that I find are truly valuable for your small business venture:

  1. Microlending for Women in Ontario Program

As a woman entrepreneur in certain regions of Ontario, you may be able to apply to a local program provider offering business training and microloans to women facing low-income and other challenges.

Business start-up loans can range from $5,000 up to $15,000.

Link: http://www.women.gov.on.ca/owd/english/economic/entrepreneurs.shtml

  1. Enabling Accessibility Fund — Workplace Accessibility Stream

Your small business may qualify for a grant of up to $50,000 to improve accessibility in your facility to maintain or create job opportunities for people with disabilities.

Eligible activities may include:

  • Renovation, construction or retrofitting of buildings
  • Modification of vehicles for work use
  • Provision of accessible information or communication technologies for work use

To qualify, your business must have:

  • Fewer than 50 employees

Link: http://www.esdc.gc.ca/eng/disability/eaf/workplace.shtml

  1. Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program

Western Canada: The Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program assists entrepreneurs with disabilities build their business future

Western Canadians who have a disability can access a network of business professionals and a world of resources through Western Economic Diversification Canada’s (WD) Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program (EDP). The EDP program provides business information, training and development, mentoring and one-on-one counseling services.

In rural communities, the program is delivered through Community Futures offices. In urban areas, WD works with a number of partners to deliver the program. For more information on the program and the services available contact the organization listed below that is nearest to you.

Link: http://www.wd.gc.ca/eng/13643.asp

  1. Vehicle Retrofit Program (persons with disabilities)

New Brunswick: Do you provide transportation services for people with a disability in New Brunswick? You may be able to get a grant to retrofit your vehicles. The grant can cover a percentage of expenses, up to a maximum of $8,000.

Link: Vehicle Retrofit Program

  1. The Self-Explorer Toolkit – Youth

This Toolkit was created to help youth who find it hard to get regular full-time jobs figure out if starting their own business is something that could work for them. If you have a disability or face other barriers to employment, working for yourself may be the answer.You’re between 14 and 24 years old

  • You have a disability or health condition – either visible or invisible
  • Your job options are limited and sometimes it is hard for you to keep a job.
  • You want to be your own boss

Link: http://www.toolkit.cf-edp.ca/

  1. Trillium Drug Fund

The TDP helps people who have high prescription drug costs relative to their household income. It covers all drugs approved under the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) program.

Link: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/programs/drugs/programs/odb/opdp_trillium.aspx

  1. Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities

Through funding for organizations, the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities (OF) program helps people with disabilities prepare for, obtain and maintain employment or self-employment.

Link: http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/of/index.shtml

  1. Disability Tax Credit

Apply for Disability Tax Credit even if you are self-employment or own a corporation. You may be entitled to other government benefits like the Registered Disability Savings Plan.

Link: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pbg/tf/t2201/t2201-12e.pdf

  1. I am a person with a disability

Link: http://www.canadabenefits.gc.ca/canben/f.1.2cl.3st@.jsp?lang=eng&catid=13&geo=5

If you have any questions or comment, please do… or if you’d like to privately, you can contact me HERE 🙂

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