Three Micro-Enterprises Launched With The Power of the Dream

By: Taryn Oesch – 04/06/2018

Last weekend, we wrapped up the spring 2018 micro-entrepreneurship class! It was a bittersweet day for me – I was sad, because I’ve enjoyed taking the journey through the class with our three students, but I was excited to see the students present their businesses to the class and am looking forward to seeing where they go next!

One student, Kyle Dumers, presented his plan to expand his family business, NC Soap Opera Company. He presented a PowerPoint slideshow, demonstrated a bath bomb, and passed around process maps and sample soaps. The company currently sells hand soaps, laundry sauce, body butter, liquid soap and deodorant at local farmers markets and festivals, but Kyle is looking to expand into wholesale. His role will evolve as the company evolves, and he’s looking forward to hiring and training a new employee or two.

Another student shared her plans to start selling her artwork by creating a business, tentatively called Cosmic Whimsy: “decorative art that celebrates colorful, nostalgic, coastal and inspirational living.” From paint and mixed media on canvas to decorative pillows, appliqué and wall hangings, she is looking forward to getting her art into gift shops, cafés and galleries – and eventually having her own studio space. She passed out handmade business cards to her eager audience, and everyone expressed appreciation of the attention she gave each card.

Our third student couldn’t make the final class, but I am excited to watch her business launch and grow. She makes decorative pillows inspired by her love of the tropics and is planning on expanding into jewelry as well. I’ve seen some of her work, and I can’t wait to see how it sells at our next pop-up market.

Entrepreneurship has so many benefits for the entrepreneur and for the community. Along with enriching the local ecosystem with unique art and other products, entrepreneurship helps people develop confidence, enables self-support and allows individuals to express themselves creatively. For people with autism or intellectual/developmental disabilities, of whom the world often has low expectations, it demonstrates to them and to their community that they have something valuable and important to offer. In short, micro-enterprise is a powerful ways people with autism/IDD can achieve their dreams.