Leading Edge Resources: Real Work
Small Business Development Support. An Individual Development Account, also known as an "IDA", is a savings account for low-income workers that can be used for small-business development, higher education or the purchase of a first home. Each time you make a deposit, the IDA program contributes an additional deposit called a match. IDA programs can have a match one, two or three times the size of each deposit you make. For example, if you receive a 2:1 match, each time you deposit $25, you will get an additional $50 toward your savings goal. http://idanetwork.cfed.org
Entrepreneur Development. One of the most pervasive stereotypes about self-employment is that it requires a business owner to be the "go out and make it happen on your own" type of individual, the one who succeeds without ever asking for or needing a helping hand-the quintessential owner of the American Dream.
Considering the viability of self-employment as a means to economic EmPOWERment for individuals with disabilities, case studies and real world examples can and do prove the stereotype wrong. With appropriate business planning tools and qualified service providers who can facilitate access to credit, people with disabilities are proving that they can be successful business owners and contributors to their own economic future.
Iowa's Entrepreneurs with Disabilities (EWD) Program is a case in point. Iowa's EWD Program combines skill development, individualized technical assistance services, and equity grants to help entrepreneurs with disabilities plan for sustainable businesses that result in financial self-sufficiency and, ultimately, gains in individual and household asset levels. The program has helped more than 249 entrepreneurs with disabilities to establish businesses. The program boasts a measured, business sustainability rate of 86%-outperforming even the most optimistic mainstream business success rates measured on business sustainability, jobs created, and asset increases. Of those sustained businesses operated by people with disabilities, approximately 30% now employ other people with disabilities-a value-added benefit. Iowa's experience demonstrates that with proper planning, people with disabilities are at least as likely to succeed and benefit from business operation as those without disabilities.