New Year’s Resolution: Hire Yourself

By: Taryn Oesch – 01/03/2018

While traditional employment with accommodations is a great option for both employers and individuals with autism and intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD), an alternative is micro-enterprise, which enables adults with autism or IDD to work independently. Micro-enterprises are small businesses with start-up costs of $35,000 or less and five or fewer employees.

With customized self-employment, organizations like The Power of the Dream can help individuals develop a business plan that is tailored to their individual needs – and their strengths. In addition to our pop-up markets, we sell the works of four micro-entrepreneurs with IDD in our HANDmeUPs thrift store, which also employs 20 staff with autism/IDD.

For example, one of our clients, Eric, worked at a retail chain for 12 years when he had his hours cut to just one day a week. In 2017, he enrolled in our pilot 10-week small business course, and after less than a year, he is a seasoned entrepreneur who frequently sells out of the beautiful terrariums he makes. Eric has found that working with plants eases his anxiety and helps him support himself and beat underemployment.

The benefits of self-employment are well-known; it provides entrepreneurs with flexibility, self-confidence, creativity, the ability to pursue passions and fulfillment. Imagine how much greater these benefits are for people who find traditional employment difficult and sometimes out of reach!

There are several barriers individuals with autism/IDD often face when starting a business, including communication barriers, lack of support, and lack of awareness among consumers and other businesses. By providing business education, pop-up markets, contact with local businesses and personal support, The Power of the Dream breaks down those barriers to enable adults with autism or IDD to become self-reliant, independent entrepreneurs.

What’s your New Year’s resolution?

Is it to hire someone with autism or an IDD? To come to a pop-up market and buy artwork from one of our entrepreneurs? To volunteer with The Power of the Dream?

Or is it to start your own business? If you or someone you know is an artist with autism or IDD, contact us to learn how to become an entrepreneur in 2018!