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Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

First Chamber Of Commerce For Entrepreneurs With Disabilities
October 12, 2006

PORTLAND, OREGON--Thursday's Oregonian reported on what organizers hope will become the first chamber of commerce for entrepreneurs with disabilities.

Called the Differently-Abled Business Association, the group was created with the idea that people who have disabilities are more likely to be successful in business if they work for themselves.

Inventor Tom Ruedy has benefited from the association. Ruedy, an outdoor enthusiast who experienced a spinal cord injury in a diving accident, created the EZ Hiker, a wheelchair for use on narrow trails. He hopes he can become independent of government benefits through entrepreneurship.

"Benefits are nice but they don't meet my emotional needs," he said.

"If I'm successful, I'll be able to emancipate myself from the state and federal assistance. That's my goal, because I don't want to be supported by society."

"Differently-Abled aims to seed switch to self-employment" (The Oregonian)


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The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center,the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.