More than 1.8 million business owners with disabilities in the U.S. often must overcome unique barriers to entrepreneurship as they strive to compete alongside their non-disabled counterparts in a business world that does not fully recognize their abilities and resilience.
The new NDI report, Small Business Ownership by People with Disabilities: Challenges and Opportunities, finds that, with a significant portion (62.5 percent) of people with disabilities outside the labor force, entrepreneurship is an important employment option for this population. However, they are often hindered by limited access to affordable startup capital and a scarcity of supports, services and programs tailored to their unique needs and challenges.
The report findings provide an important lens on the employment choices and decision making of Americans with disabilities. Report highlights include:
- A higher percentage of self-employment in working-age people with disabilities is observed in all age groups, as compared to working-age people without disabilities.
- Lower labor force participation and higher self-employment rates among those who are working stem in part from barriers to the labor market.
- Barriers keep people with disabilities from pursuing work and, when they do pursue work, lack of accommodations and discrimination in the workplace may prompt them to launch their own enterprises.
- The absence of disability data in most public and private surveys of small businesses renders business owners with disabilities invisible. This creates an obstacle to building a case for developing targeted programs for this underserved and often overlooked population.
This research and report was made possible through the generous support of JPMorgan Chase & Co.