An entrepreneur is a person who is willing to start a new business and be responsible for the outcome. You don’t have to own a huge company like Amazon.com, Best Buy or Apple to be a successful entrepreneur. Businesses come in all shapes and sizes.  

A microenterprise business is a small business with five or fewer employees that requires less than $35,000 to start, and can often be started with very little money.

There are an estimated two million microentrepreneurs in the United States today, offering a variety of services and products from home-based day care and auto repair to specialty foods and scrap books.

Things to be done now:

  • Explore the world of new business opportunities. Talk to small business owners with and without disabilities and find out how they decided to open their business, who helped them and how they feel working for themselves.
  • Look at your interests, career strengths, and work preferences to get ideas that would fit your life and values.
  • Read up on business trends and new markets for small businesses and microenterprises. ‘Green’ businesses that help protect the natural environment and social networks, like Facebook are both important trends today.
  • Attend entrepreneur and small business events and expos. Also look for expos geared to your areas of interest, such as animal care, the music industry and specialty food businesses.


ACCION Chicago is a small business lender, dedicated to providing financing and business education to small businesses. 1618 West 18th Street, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60608, Phone: (312) 275-3000, Fax: (312) 275-3010, E-mail: info@accionchicago.org

Disabilityworks: Aims to Increase Economic Opportunities for People with Disabilities in the state of Illinois at www.disabilityworks.org

Division of Rehabilitation Services is the state agency that provides vocational rehabilitation services to people with disabilities in Illinois: www.dhs.state.il.us, Phone: 800.843.6154, TTY: 800.447.6404, To refer someone for services online: https://drs.state.il.us/owr

Hull House Small Business Development initiative provides a wide range of small business training and counseling programs to new and existing businesses. We offer specific business programs targeted to the community. These include projects that help refugees obtain micro-loans to start or expand a business, or programs that encourage youth entrepreneurship at a local public high school.
1030 W. Van Buren, Chicago, IL, Direct: (312)906-8600

Illinois Small Business Development Centers Illinois Small Business Development Centers located throughout the state provide information, confidential business guidance, training and other resources to beginning and existing small businesses. http://www.illinoisbiz.biz/dceo/Bureaus/Entrepreneurship+and+Small+Business/SBDC.htm

The Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the Duman Microenterprise Center provides one-on-one counseling at no charge for start-ups and pre-existing small businesses in the Chicago metropolitan area. The Center offers entrepreneurial training, business assistance, mentoring and access to capital. The Center has been helping small business owners since 2001. 216 West Jackson Blvd., Suite 700, Chicago, IL 60606, phone: 312.673.3429, e-mail: sbdcdumancenter@jvschicago.org.

Northeastern University: http://www.neiu.edu/Home/

PASS (Plan for Achieving Self Support) can help provide individuals with eth opportunity to get a job and become self supporting. A PASDS plan can be used to pay for almost any expense that will help you reach your occupational objective. Contact Mr. Karl Gillespie, PASS Specialist at Phone: 866.575.4889, Fax: 312.575.6501, e-mail: karl.gillespie@SSA.gov.

Self-Employment Resources Network (SERN) seeks to locate and translate resource information into user-friendly terms, facilitate networking opportunities, and offer assistance in identifying and developing procedures for persons with disabilities wanting to be self-employed. Health & Disability Advocates, Phone: (312) 223-9600
Fax: (312) 223-9518, E-mail: mfrawley@hdadvocates.org, http://www.sern.info/

Small Business & Self-Employment Service: Office of Disability Employment Policy of the U.S. Department of Labor: http://janweb.icdi.wvu.edu/sbses, Phone: 800.526.7234, TTY: 877.781.9403.

The Abilities Fund is a nationwide community developer and financial institution targeted exclusively to advancing entrepreneurial opportunities for Americans with disabilities. Services include financial products, training, technical assistance services, and advisory supports to individuals with disabilities and the organizations that support them. 322 South Linn Street, Suite 15, Iowa City, IA 52240, Phone: (866) 720-3863 or (319) 338-2521, Fax: (319) 338-2528,  http://www.abilitiesfund.org/


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