Thursday, July 15, 2010

Entrepreneurship as a Road Forward for the Disabled

Wonderful story in today’s Wall Street Journal about the role that entrepreneurship can play for disabled individuals. The story, written by Sarah Needleman is entitled For Disabled, a Job Hunt Alternative and it highlights our Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities program. Thorugh our Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship, we also work with disabled entrepreneurs through our StartUp New York program and we seen amazing results. As our faculty like to say, entrepreneurship truly is a road forward for those who are disabled.

From the article:

Founded by the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, the boot camp starts with a 40-day distance-learning course, followed by 10 days of on-campus classes. Participants are also paired with mentors and have access to free resources such as legal and accounting services from corporate partners and the schools' alumni.

After graduating from the program in 2008, former Marine Brian Iglesias co-launched New York film-production company Veterans Inc. with a fellow veteran. Mr. Iglesias's neck and shoulder were injured during combat, causing permanent nerve damage to his right arm and requiring a metal plate in his neck. He says he previously spent five months searching unsuccessfully for a job in the entertainment industry—even failing to land unpaid internships. "I was begging people to work for free," he says.

The 33-year-old Mr. Iglesias, who has a bachelor's degree in film production from Temple University, suspects that some employers were uncomfortable hiring him because of his war experience. "Out of all the people who are candidates, they think, a year ago this guy was being shot at," he says.

With the poor economy further restricting employment options for the disabled, some organizations are seeing increased interest in programs designed to assist this group in starting businesses.

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