The nature of entrepreneurship and enterprise for people with learning disabilities.
Self employment and small business ownership
Currently, fewer than 6% of people with learning disabilities are in paid work. We know this figure represents a drop from previous years.
We know that people with learning disabilities can and do make hard working and enthusiastic employees, bringing new skills, talents and perspectives to their employers. We also know that when we give good quality support to people interested in work we can match their skills interests and aspiration to the need of local employers and get good outcomes.
However, far less is known about how that support relates to people interested in exploring self employment opportunities despite the fact that a growing number of people with learning disabilities are using self employment as a way into work.
This is a two year study to look at how people with learning disabilities are being supported to set up their own business, the role of supported employment agencies and the types of supports available
We want to further develop self employment as a realistic option for people with learning disabilities as they set out on their employment pathway and to know more about:
how people are supported to explore this option
what is the nature of that support
who is funding it
how it fits with wider supported employment provision and wider Department of Work and Pensions provision such as the New Enterprise Allowance and Access to Work
We will use a range of different methods including questionnaires, focus groups and interviews to understand more about the experiences of people with a learning disability exploring self employment and small business ownership, gather lessons learned, and capture good practice.
Stage 1: Questionnaires to Supported Employment providers and other support providers along with interviews with key stakeholders to generate an overall picture of the numbers of people being supported to set up their own business and.
Stage2: A more detailed look at a number of businesses, working with entrepreneurs to understand their journey and the supports they used to succeed
Stage 3: Analysis of data collection and field work
Stage 4: Dissemination of findings and the development of practice guidance.
Audience and outputs
We hope this work will be of interest to a wide range of organisations and individuals promoting and developing wider opportunities for independent living and especially:
People with learning disabilities
The project will ensure a range of dissemination activities supported by publications and outputs including:
End of project policy and practice guidance including a summary and easy read version
Case studies and learning stories
A project blog will offer learning from the project and will be promoted through an allied twitter feed
Potential academic papers through links with partner organisations