The traditional workplace can present many barriers to people with disabilities, particularly in terms of travel requirements, tight schedules and a lack of accommodation or understanding of individual needs.
Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that around half of disabled working adults in the UK are employed, compared to around 80% of people without a disability.
On the contrary, when it comes to self-employment, there is a higher proportion of disabled people (13.8%) than non-disabled people (12.5%).
UK entrepreneurship charity Hatch Enterprise supports people with disabilities to explore their entrepreneurial potential and start their own businesses.
One of the disabled founders who benefits from the support of this charity is Martha Bennett.
Marta completed an accelerator program with Hatch to develop her business Ludo Tutors, a service providing customized tutoring for children and their families worldwide.
She is neurotypical and also has endometriosis, a hidden disability that causes extreme pain and chronic fatigue, among other symptoms.
“Entrepreneurship really helps people with disabilities because it just gives you that degree of flexibility. This means you can choose your work environment, and it also means you can be flexible with your schedule. he explains.
For example, with my chronic fatigue, I can’t work a 9-5, but when I’m ready during the day, I can quickly do it in three or four hours.
I once got off a train at London Bridge station on my way to Jupiter and passed out from the pain. Endometriosis can be really severe, but even if it isn’t, these types of symptoms can bother you day after day.
Being an entrepreneur helps with this, it also means you can take time off if you need to take time off for an appointment or medication, or if you have a serious flare-up like endometriosis. “
Marta believes that living with a disability means she has to develop resilience, perseverance and a great deal of empathy, all vital skills for an entrepreneur.
Hatch’s mission is to level the entrepreneurial playing field and ensure that access to support is available to traditionally underrepresented groups, including people with disabilities.
Thanks to a partnership with disability lifestyle brand Parallel, Hatch has been able to provide scholarships to disabled founders who access its programs, ensuring that they can access the opportunities they need to invest in themselves and their business ideas.
Last year, 16% of participants in Hatch’s programs said they were living with a disability, and the charity hopes more disabled people will be inspired to start their own businesses by hearing stories like Martha’s.
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