Unfastened on-line entrepreneurship route geared toward other people with disabilities

Previous research from TU Dublin, which is running the course, said that Ireland has one of the lowest employment rates in the EU for people with disabilities.

TU Dublin is set to run a new entrepreneurship course aimed at people with disabilities. The free course will run fully online and is designed to address the additional barriers people with disabilities face when starting or running their own business.

Participants will leave the course with the skills and knowledge to become self-employed. Each participant will also receive a business mentor through the Local Enterprise Office network. People who are already running their own businesses are not eligible to apply as the program is focused on pre-start-ups.

TU Dublin is running the program in response to previous research it did in 2020. Prof Thomas Cooney and his Canadian co-author found that Ireland had one of the lowest employment rates in the EU for people with disabilities. The last census listed the figure as 26.2pc, This was more than double the 12.9pc rate for the population as a whole. The EU average is 52pc, according to Inclusion Europe.

The report highlighted the role entrepreneurship could play in addressing the many barriers people with disabilities face in accessing employment. However, in the last census just 52,115 people with disabilities had their own businesses.

Cooney, who designed and will lead the programme, said that “Self-employment helps people with disabilities to participate socially and economically.”

“It also allows them to choose their own hours or work remotely, providing more flexibility than can be found in paid employment. However, despite the benefits, there is limited awareness of self-employment as a career option for people with disabilities within their own community and within enterprise agencies and disability advocacy organisations.”

The course will be launched at an event being held today (13 June) by the Open Doors Initiative. The Irish non-profit is holding a webinar about entrepreneurship for people with disabilities at the launch. He is co-founder and supporter of the program. Other organizations involved as supporters and partners are AIB, the Local Enterprise Office, Disability Federation of Ireland, DoTheFinancials.com, Microfinance Ireland and SimVenture.

Applications are currently open for the program. It is free to complete and starts on 21 September. It will run for 12 weeks. More information on how to apply can be found on TU Dublin’s website.

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