021 873 5038 | 021 007 0034 elmarie@sunfieldhome.co.za

Many people are keen to start their own businesses, and their struggle may be as challenging as anything an intellectually disabled person may find daunting in operating the business itself. However, for a disabled person there are aspects that can engender a range of difficulties that an ordinary person may not experience. Finding the right people to assist you in the process is vital – people who are able to guide you along the steps that are not only necessary in the undertaking of any business, but specifically honed to cope with your individual situation.

  • Firstly, begin like everybody else. Identify and consider your strengths, interests, and skills. Determine what you are passionate about and what kind of business aligns with your abilities. Once you have that sorted, you can begin to review ideas that suit your skills and interests. It would be best to contemplate small-scale ventures that are manageable and have relatively low start-up costs.
  • Developing a business plan requires help. Give time to a well-thought-out business plan that outlines your business goals, target market, competition, financial projections, and marketing strategy, and then seek help from mentors, business advisors, and especially organisations that support entrepreneurs with disabilities and who can give you some specialised attention.
  • Like all people starting a new business, you will need to take courses or attend workshops related to entrepreneurship, business management, and financial literacy. There are many non-profits and institutions that offer training programmes for individuals with disabilities.
  • One person you will definitely need to contact will be a lawyer or business advisor who will help you to understand the legal requirements for starting and operating a business in your area. You will need key advice registering your business, and obtaining any necessary licenses or permits, as well as adhering to all regulations. You will also need advice on choosing an appropriate business structure, such as sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company (LLC), based on your needs and goals.
  • Then comes the vital issue of finding funding, and how you are going to financially drive your business. Explore various funding options, including personal savings, loans, grants, or crowdfunding. A financial advisor or professional business person will help you to develop a realistic financial plan to manage your business finances effectively. This would be the time to investigate various organisations, government agencies, and non-profits that offer support, grants, and resources for entrepreneurs with disabilities. These organisations are focused on helping intellectually disabled persons and can provide valuable assistance and guidance.
  • Depending on your specific needs, consider using specialised adaptive technology that will help you manage various aspects of your business and bring your individual strengths to the fore. This could include assistive devices, software, or hiring support staff. Stay up-to-date with industry trends, market developments, and changes in regulations that may affect your business.
  • Once all these steps are in place, it is time to begin a creative strategy for marketing and branding. It is important to develop a strong brand identity and devise a marketing strategy with focus and purpose. Use social media, online platforms, and community events to promote your business and connect with potential customers. Always keep your mind on prioritising excellent customer service, simply because building positive relationships with your customers can lead to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals.
  • Manage time effectively and stay organised by setting and keeping to a schedule. But however carefully you plan, be prepared to adapt to changing circumstances and challenges. Flexibility and adaptability are key to the ability to pivot and adjust your business strategy in swift response to challenges, and essential for long-term success.

Remember that entrepreneurship is a journey filled with both successes and setbacks. It’s important to stay motivated, persistent, and resilient. While intellectual disabilities may present unique challenges, they do not define an individual’s potential for success. Many successful entrepreneurs with intellectual disability have demonstrated that determination, creativity, and a strong support network can lead to fulfilling and profitable businesses.

The story of Sunfield Home

Chris and Lynne Bennett, parents of a young girl with Down Syndrome, pursued their dream of establishing a home for their daughter and other intellectually disabled young adults in the Western Cape. Together with other parents, they founded the Sunfield Home in Wellington, providing a loving and nurturing environment for over 100 residents and day-care adult individuals.

Each individual is screened to evaluate their strengths and allocate activities according to their abilities. A protective workshop has been established where contract work is undertaken, as well as arts and crafts activities. An employment scheme has also been developed, and as a result permanent and successful positions have been found within the surrounding wine and cheese industries.

Find out more about us at: www.sunfieldhome.co.za