Success for disabled entrepreneurs business start-up scheme

A business start-up service run by the Bournemouth-based Support and Mentoring Enabling Entrepreneurship (SAMEE) Charity has helped 50 local unemployed people with disabilities gain valuable self-employment skills, with 15 successfully setting up their own businesses.

Thanks to a charitable donation made by Talbot Village Trust, the SAMEE Charity, which is dedicated to supporting people with disabilities gain self-employment skills, introduced a 12-month Disabled Entrepreneurs Business Start-up Service (DEBSS) using a £13,000 donation awarded by the grant-giving Trust that supports worthy causes across south-east Dorset.

An impressive and diverse range of businesses have been set up by individuals taking part in the DEBSS project, from gardening services to an aromatherapy online retailer and dog walking services.

Clair Lawrence is one individual who has significantly benefitted from the project, launching her own aromatherapy oils business, Lavish4Me, in March. Clair suffers with multiple health conditions, including Trigeminal Neuralgia and Fibromyalgia, which prevented her from working as an employee, so she sought support from SAMEE to realise her dream of self-employment.

Business owner Clair said: “Building a business from scratch by yourself can be daunting and lonely, but having The SAMEE Charity by my side from start to finish has been crucial in the success of launching my business.

“My business mentor helped put a structure to my ideas with an easy to complete business plan and step-by-step guide on how to launch my business. During the project I had up and down moments, but my mentor kept me feeling positive when I was having challenging days of depression.

“Each step I took, some quick some slow, got me where I am today, a single mother with Trigeminal Neuralgia, Fibromyalgia, and depression and still a successful business owner!

“When I reflect, I’ve come such a long way and the pride and achievement I feel is incredible. I appreciate the support the SAMEE Charity team were able to give me.”

The DEBSS project offered 12 hours of free flexible support to participants which included guidance on the reality of self-employment, access to mentors in sales, marketing and accounting, and direction on essential confidence building techniques to empower individuals to create comprehensive business plans.

Wayne Ingram, the Chief Operating Officer at the SAMEE Charity, added: “The kind donation from the Talbot Village Trust has enabled our charity to help transform the lives of many disabled adults in Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole.

“Since 2016, we have taught more than 450 people with disabilities self-employment skills so they can create an income, boost wellbeing, and gain further independence through a self-employment start-up.  This recent project has seen more than 40 per cent of participants either start their own business or gain employment for the very first time.

“Our mission is to narrow the disability employment gap and help make our local disabled community stronger, and we could not have made this huge social impact for the disabled community in this area without the support of the Trust.”

Nicholas Ashley-Cooper, Chairman of Talbot Village Trust, commented: “It’s tremendous to see how many participants have since gone on to set up their own businesses.  Our purpose is to support organisations in the community that are making changes for the better, and the SAMEE Charity is certainly achieving this vision. We’re delighted to support the DEBSS project.”

Talbot Village Trust donates up to £1million every year supporting various causes to youth organisations, education groups and community-focused projects. The charity is encouraging further local causes to apply for funding ahead of its first 2023 application deadline on January 31.

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