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Vol. 23. Num. 2. 2014. Pages 145-150

An empowerment model of entrepreneurship for people with disabilities in theUnited States

[Un modelo de “empowerment” para dar iniciativa emprendedora a personas con discapacidades en EE.UU]

Fabricio E Balcázar1 , JoAnn Kuchak2 , Shawn Dimpfl1 , Varun Sariepella1 , Francisco Alvarado3

1Univ. Illinois at Chicago, Estados Unidos ,2Economic Systems Inc., Estados Unidos ,3Illinois Division of Rehabilitation Services, Estados Unidos

Abstract

People with disabilities are greatly underrepresented in the workforce, often face discrimination byemployers, and often are not effectively served by the U.S. Vocational Rehabilitation System whose primarypurpose is to get individuals with disabilities employed. Additionally, many individuals with disabilitiesface discrimination and/or fear of becoming a liability by business owners. The Chicago Add Us In (AUI)Initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy, created anentrepreneurship program for people with disabilities in order to counteract these barriers, promoteempowerment and facilitate economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities. The model includes acourse on how to write a business plan, one-on-one business mentoring, technical assistance, start-upbusiness grants, and assistance from a business incubator. In addition to the core program components,there was an emphasis on creating systems change in the Illinois Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS)to ensure program sustainability. In-depth case studies are offered to illustrate the process of consumerempowerment and the impact of the entrepreneurship program on the lives of the entrepreneurs whohave participated thus far. 

Resumen

Las personas con discapacidades están muy poco representadas en la fuerza de trabajo, con frecuencia sufrendiscriminación por parte de los empleadores y raramente el Sistema de Rehabilitación Profesional delos EE.UU., que se ocupa sobre todo de conseguir trabajo a las personas con discapacidades, les atiende debidamente.Además, muchas de estas personas enfrentan discriminación o los empleadores piensan queson un riesgo para ellos. La "Iniciativa Añádenos" en Chicago, patrocinada por el Departamento de Trabajode los EE.UU, Oficina de Política de Empleo para los Discapacitados, ha creado un programa de desarrollo depequeñas empresas para personas con discapacidades que pueda contrarrestar estas barreras, fomentar elincremento de poder y facilitar la autosuficiencia de estas personas. El modelo incluye un curso sobre cómodesarrollar un plan de negocios, orientación [mentoring] comercial individual, asistencia técnica, ayudasfinancieras para abrir negocios y la asistencia de una "incubadora" de empresas. Además de los componentescentrales del programa se trató de crear un cambio de sistema en la División de Servicios de Rehabilitaciónde Illinois para garantizar la sostenibilidad del programa. Se presentan estudios de casos que ilustranel proceso de incremento de poder de los consumidores y el impacto del programa de desarrollo empresarialen la vida de las personas que han participado hasta la fecha. 

Keywords

Entrepreneurship
Empowerment of individuals with disabilities
Micro-enterprises

Palabras clave

Iniciativa emprendedora
Incremento de poder de personas con discapacidades
Microempresas
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