Start-Ups

Entrepreneurs with Disabilities: Profile of a Forgotten Minority

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Executive Summary

The hosting of the Special Olympics in Ireland in 2003 compellingly brought to the forefront of public consciousness the capacity of people with disabilities to significantly contribute economically and socially to the nation. However, a body of research now exists highlighting that people with disabilities are less likely to be gainfully employed and will have lower earnings than non-disabled people. These differentials are caused by a variety of factors, including perceived and actual discrimination. An alternative career option for people with disabilities is to become self-employed, which has the benefits of the freedom, flexibility, and independence associated with self-employment, as well as autonomy from access-related obstacles such as transportation, fatigue, inaccessible work environments, and the need for personal assistance.

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