For too long it has been assumed that entrepreneurship and disability is an oxymoron. This study seeks to explore the barriers and opportunities experienced by entrepreneurs with a physical disability in running a business in Ireland. Self-employment may offer the individual unrivalled flexibility to work around a physically disabling condition. Current vocational rehabilitation and disability pedagogy and policy neglects to consider entrepreneurship as part of the narrative. Boylan and Buchardt (2002) stress that self-employment can provide an alternative to a competitive and discriminatory labour market for people with a disability (PWD). Likewise, Arnold and Ipsen (2005) note there are few opportunities in work and that self-employment may offer flexibility to address illness for persons with a disability. This study seeks to address a lacuna in the current research literature on the barriers encountered by entrepreneurs with a disability (EWD) in Ireland. The current study has used case studies and they describe a number of entrepreneurs with a disability (EWD) and illuminate the tremendous passion, drive and enthusiasm amongst those profiled. The case studies collectively demonstrate the success stories and deepen as well as broaden knowledge and understanding of the entrepreneurial process. The current study also profiles a number of persons with a disability (PWD) not currently engaged in entrepreneurial activity and provides insight into the barriers and impediments which prevent enterprise creation. The findings reveal that EWD demonstrate considerable resourcefulness, are relatively well educated and demonstrated prior experience and have access to networks and supportive families thus are able to operate effectively as entrepreneurs. The EWD demonstrated considerable commitment and dedication to their respective enterprises. Conversely, the PWD in the current research reveal a very marginalised and peripheral group, isolated in society. Lacking in educational attainment and prior work experience, low levels of familial expectation compound low levels of self-confidence and exacerbate a solitary marginalised life. This highlights the tremendous barriers encountered by PWD in Irish society.
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2015|
- Entrepreneurship, Disability