A BUSINESS start-up service has helped 50 unemployed people with disabilities gain valuable self-employment skills with 15 successfully setting up their own businesses.
The SAMEE (Support And Mentoring Enabling Entrepreneurship) charity introduced a 12-month Disabled Entrepreneurs Business Start-up Service (DEBSS) using a £13,000 charitable donation from the Talbot Village Trust.
The grant-giving trust supports worthy causes across South East Dorset while the SAMEE charity is dedicated to supporting people with disabilities gain self-employment skills.
A diverse range of businesses have been set up by individuals taking part in the DEBSS project. They range from gardening to dog walking services.
Clair Lawrence launched her aromatherapy oils business, Lavish4Me, in March.
She suffers with multiple health conditions, including trigeminal neuralgia and fibromyalgia.
They prevented her from working as an employee so she sought support from the SAMEE charity to realise her dream of self-employment.
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 to 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 was able to give me.”
The DEBSS project offered 12 hours of free flexible support to participants.
It 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, chief operating officer at the SAMEE charity, said: “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.
“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, said: “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 £1 million every year to youth organisations, education groups and community-focused projects.