Entrepreneurs with Disabilities is a program that helps people with barriers to entering the business world. Physical or mental impediments to starting and running a successful business can be surmounted with help, assistance with funding, and with access to the right personnel and training. That’s the philosophy of the program which can be accessed through Saskatchewan Community Futures outlets, including Sagehill Community Futures in Bruno.
“The program is for anybody with a health condition,” says Susan Bater, program manager for Entrepreneurs with Disabilities. “Some examples could be people with ADHD, anxiety, diabetes, back injuries, cancer survivors – it's very broad.”
Ongoing physical emotional and cognitive disabilities all fall under the umbrella, Bater explains. There is no need for documentation as eligibility is based on self-declaration.
The program offers loans, advice and supports like training. There are dedicated loan funds available up to $150,000 for business startups. There is also a $750 grant for business marketing or business mentoring. It’s a win-win for new businesses and existing ones, says Bater.
“We partner with established local businesses and connect them to new businesses that, say, may need photography for a website or who may need help with social media or setting up a website. The entrepreneur has an opportunity to gain up to $750 worth of service and we engage local businesses to provide that service.”
The same strategy applies to business mentoring, says Bater, often with bookkeeping and financial advice. The goal is to rely on local expertise to keep the money in the community.
“It creates a good network,” Bater says. “We’re hoping that the first $750 is the start of a good partnership going forward because we all know that every business thrives when they have a team of local support around them. Hopefully that first meeting with somebody that helps in digital marketing is going to be an ongoing relationship.”
Other opportunities through Sagehill Community Futures include help with business planning and a new program called Business Builder. The program is geared to business ventures looking to launch within a few months, whether they are full time or part time operations.
“What we’re seeing right now is a lot of people who want to get into what we call a side hustle. So they may have a full or a part time job, but they have a passion for something else, and they want to explore taking that to the next level.”
The Business Builder has dedicated dollars for things like childcare. We have 16 weeks of free training along with business plan support, along with other financial support for things like travel dollars to get back and forth from a Community Futures office if they’re a little further out in the district.”
The idea is to tailor the programming and support to the individual need. Find out more about the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities program opportunities through Sagehill Community Futures at (306) 369-2610 or their website.
Check out the Business Resources Information session coming up on February 20 at 1:40 pm. It’s an online session that guides hopefully entrepreneurs though available services. Registration is at tinyurl.com/InfoEDP20.