Focus on Abilities - Explore Self-Employment

Many people are surprized to learn that self-employment does not always require major financial investments to get started.  Starting a business can sound like a big deal but there are a variety of self-employment work styles which can provide flexibility, independence and professional growth opportunities. Many who venture into self-employment start small. Freelancing is a common self-employment style when a person sells their skills on a project basis, often working from home – a web designer is an example. Being a contractor means perform a specific role or piece of work for an agreed upon hourly rate without being hired as a staff member – an example would be someone who teaches a program for a not for profit organization. Many have ‘side-gigs’ making and selling a product or managing a web site or blog which brings in advertising revenue.

Being your own boss can work well for people with disabilities and there are many programs to support students and grads in investigating and starting their own businesses.

Rise Asset Development

The Youth Small Business Program is designed for individuals aged 16 to 29 who self identify as having experienced a mental health or addiction challenge (anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress, anorexia, ADHD, autism spectrum, addiction, or similar challenges). This is a FREE course where participants develop entrepreneurship skills, gain practical tools and confidence, while converting their business idea into a viable customer centric business plan. The Rotman School of business provides training and coaching in this program.  RISE - Youth Small Business Program

Rise also has an individual loans program to launch a business. You can access financing to launch or grow your small business. Eligible entrepreneurs can access up to $10,000 in financing, with average initial financing starting at $4,000. RISE - Individual Small Business Program

Ontario Disability Support Program Employment Supports

A Provincially funded one-on-one employment supports service for persons with disabilities providing help to get ready for work and find a job or start up a business. Choose a service provider in your local area and get supports to get working or start a business.  ODSP Start Your Own Business

Business Enterprise Centres  

Learn from small business professionals to Start Build Grow your small business.  Free business information and resources, free business plan reviews, low cost business seminars and workshops, low cost online business training courses, Young Entrepreneur programs, and much more.

Mississauga Business Enterprise Centre

Find a  Business Enterprise Centre in another community  

Job Skills Build Your Business Program

Do you have a disability?  Do you want to start your own business?  Discover the freedom, flexibility and independence that comes from working for yourself! Job Skills has been delivering Business Development programs and services across the GTA since 1997. More than 3,000 entrepreneurs have started their own businesses creating an immeasurable ‘ripple effect’,  by creating hundreds of jobs, developing networks of supplies and customers and generating millions of dollars in sales annually. In 2014-15 alone, Job Skills helped launched 298 new businesses.   Job Skills Build Your Business

The Ontario Opportunities Fund

This program provides funding for organizations and individuals who want to create initiatives to improve employment opportunities and outcomes for persons with disabilities. Got a big idea? Want to start a program or project for people with disabilities? This could be the program for you. Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities

Book Resource

Making Self-Employment Work for People with Disabilities

by Cary Griffin M.A. , David Hammis , Beth Keeton and Molly Sullivan (Available through Chapters Indigo)