Start-Up Entrepreneurial Project

Impact: Society impacts, Quality of life impacts

Description of impact

A long-term issue for people with a disability is meaningful employment, particularly for people with an intellectual disability. In 2018, Challenge Community Services (CCS) partnered with Macquarie University, UTS and the UoN to develop, implement and evaluate Start-Up, an entrepreneurial incubator for people with an intellectual disability. This was funded by the NDIS Information, Linkages and Capacity-building program ($185,000).

Start-Up is a completely new program in which self-employed mentors (who also have a disability) work with participants to develop their own self-driven employment over 18 months. Start-Up has been running for about 12 months and there is substantial evidence that people with an intellectual disability can be successful entrepreneurs. For example, participant Peter (pseudonym) has developed a table-top game that is accessible for people with a range of abilities. Already, aged care facilities see the potential and Peter has begun to run inclusive games workshops.

Facilitating self-employment allows participants the opportunity to create full and productive lives. The success of this pilot project has led to an expansion to the regional community of Tamworth, where people with intellectual disability face even greater difficulties securing meaningful work. Start-Up’s success has also informed CCS’s lobby for changes to NDIS funding policy including moves to better allow people with a disability to determine how they are supported under the NDIS. In addition to this social, economic and policy impact, occupational psychology literature remains largely silent on the entrepreneurial experiences of people with a disability, and MQ Start-Up research seeks to address this gap.
Impact date1 Jun 20181 Nov 2020
Category of impactSociety impacts, Quality of life impacts
Impact levelBenefit