Be Your Own Boss: Starting Your Own Business as a Disabled Person in the UK

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As a disabled person in the UK looking for work it can be frustrating to come up against so many barriers and inaccessible environments. The traditional workspace has been designed with a very narrow view of what an employee looks like, with physical environments and rigid expectations that can prevent anyone who does not fit this image from being able to thrive.

Due to this, more and more disabled people are choosing to start their own businesses instead. This route offers much more flexibility, autonomy, and opportunities to make a real impact on the business landscape of the UK. With free business support from Hatch Enterprise including online courses, mentor matching, and grants available, anyone can turn their idea into a thriving business. 

The Current Job Market is Inaccessible

Ableism is embedded into our society in the UK, and working culture is not immune. The increased flexibility that was a necessity during the pandemic has demonstrated that adaptations can be made if there is a real will for it, and in some places this has gone on to have a lasting positive impact, but many organisations quickly reverted back to traditional structures.

Requiring rigid office attendance for a role is a huge barrier to many disabled people. As one example, there are a whole host of reasons that people may not be able to commute to a workplace every day, from mobility issues, to neurodiversities, to unexpected and unpredictable condition flare ups.

This is just one way in which disabled people are prevented from accessing roles, or subject to an additional ‘disability tax’ through needing to pay for private transport options.

There are some great organisations seeking to make the traditional workplace more accessible such as Diversity and Ability and Genius Within, but for those seeking a different route, entrepreneurship can offer freedom, autonomy, and flexibility to work in a way that suits you. 

If you are a disabled person who would like to consider starting your own business, Hatch wants to help you.

The Benefits of Starting your Own Business as a Disabled Person

Starting your own business can seem like a daunting prospect if you have not had a lot of exposure to the business world, but it is a route that is accessible to everyone: all you need is an idea, or a problem that you want to solve.

Running your own business means that you can manage your own timetable, you can choose who you work with, and you can build a business culture that is accessible and welcoming to all.

Many disabled people have a lot of experience advocating for themselves, have a lot of empathy for those with differences, and are extremely adept at problem solving and working flexibly. These are all important skills for a founder, and can be transferred to running a business.

Similarly it is the people closest to an issue who are best placed to solve it. Disabled people have been responsible for the founding of a whole host of innovative and impactful businesses that exist to support the disabled community.

Whether disabled people are the target audience for your product or service, or you have a different market but embed accessibility and universal design into other elements of your business and team culture, having lived experience is a huge asset to a business owner.

Start your Own Business with the Help of Hatch Enterprise

Hatch provides support to founders at every stage of the entrepreneurial journey. Whether you want some structure and support to gather your ideas, are ready to launch, or want to scale up, there is a tailored support plan to suit you.

After completing a programme there are also a range of grant and loan offerings available for graduates to invest in their businesses.

Thanks to a partnership with Parallel we are able to offer bursaries to anyone with a disability wanting to access our programmes, ensuring that cost is not a barrier. We are also currently working with the Ares Charitable Foundation to pilot a entrepreneur training course that is specifically for disabled entrepreneurs, so if that sounds of interest to you, be sure to join our newsletter.

Explore an idea you have for a business in our 90-minute webinars, or join a  supportive cohort of peers to get the support you need to launch, grow and scale your business on one of our longer-term programmes.

These programmes offer tailored, expert learning across all areas of marketing, sales, supply chain, market research, operations, wellbeing, finances and more, so you can feel confident in taking the next steps on your business journey.

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Our Previous Graduates

Martha Bennett

Martha completed an Accelerator programme to develop her business Ludo Tutors, a service providing bespoke tuition for children and their families.

“I think it’s amazing what Hatch are doing and I’d really recommend if you are disabled, neurodiverse, I’d really recommend getting in touch with them.”

Victoria Jenkins

Victoria is on a mission to change the fashion world for good through her sustainable adaptive fashion brand Unhidden

“Disabled entrepreneurs are a vital part of our economy… to make it easier for the next generation of entrepreneurs, better and consistent support is drastically needed.”

Sylvia Mac

Sylvia has been able to realise her dream of starting a talent agency, Love Disfigure Talent, representing people with a disability or difference.

“Completing the Hatch Enterprise course changed my life. It feels amazing to finally call myself a business owner.”

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