Businesses need to take disabled entrepreneurs much more seriously

This is the message from Josh Wintersgill who explains why

Businesses need to take disabled entrepreneurs much more seriously

Did you know that 25% of small business owners are either disabled or have a health condition?  This is according to information published by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). Blackpool-based FSB have made it one of their main objectives to support disabled people, and those with health conditions, within the UK workforce.

But what is truly alarming is that these people are 400 times less likely to receive investment. In other words, there is a huge untapped market that has been neglected for far too long. This could be due to unconscious bias or barriers which remain in place for many people with disabilities. However, the excuses do not justify such disproportionate figures.

The investment space has been striving for more equality and inclusivity in recent years. It’s all about recognising the potential of marginalised groups to make the business world more diverse. 

And thanks to Disability Power 100, Great British Entrepreneur Awards, Stelios UK Disabled Entrepreneur Awards and Blue Badge Access Awards, these talents can finally be recognised. If investors are serious about wanting to expand their pool, they really must address this enormous gap. 

This article makes the case for why investment in disabled entrepreneurs makes good business sense.

New opportunities and new markets

One of the most compelling reasons to invest in disabled entrepreneurs is the untapped pool of talent that exists within this community. Making Space Media, Access Now and Freedom One are just some of the fantastic examples of global companies that were created by disabled entrepreneurs. 

Disabled individuals often face barriers regarding traditional employment. This is why many feel they have no choice but to explore entrepreneurship as a viable alternative. By supporting disabled entrepreneurs, investors gain access to a diverse range of skills, perspectives and experiences that can drive innovation and creativity. 

Furthermore, disabled founders demonstrate resilience and can introduce investors to new markets. They can inspire these companies to greater business success through the creation of new products and services – and not just for disabled people.

Unique perspectives drive innovation

Ideas born out of unique experiences lead to the development of innovative and progressive businesses. Able Move UK is a company I built, following issues I faced in the aviation industry. I was supported by the founder of easyJet, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who invested in the company. 

Disabled entrepreneurs, such as me, face unique challenges. And it is these experiences which, in turn, inspire the need to problem-solve. Thus, companies that invest in disabled entrepreneurs benefit from fresh ideas.

Take Martyn Sibley who has built a multi-million-pound global marketing agency called Purple Goat. The purpose of Purple Goat Agency is to increase disability representation in the media, advertising and marketing. And his campaign has been supported by global success story The Goat Agency which has profited from a disabled entrepreneur’s vision.

We are now seeing more and more investors, social impact funds and accelerators, supporting disabled entrepreneurs. Charities, such as Parallel Lifestyle, have also raised funds to support under-represented budding entrepreneurs. Funds are used to nurture the knowledge, confidence and skills that are needed to launch and grow a business.

Potential for high returns

According to a report by Access2Funding, investors are missing out on £500m in annual returns by not investing in disabled entrepreneurs. Disabled entrepreneurs must not be seen as an ‘act of charity’. They must be taken much more seriously. 

As the world progresses towards a more equitable and diverse future; smart and open-minded investors will recognise the immense potential offered by disabled entrepreneurs. They will understand how these men and women can drive economic growth, foster innovation and build a more inclusive business landscape.

Joshua Wintersgill
Joshua Wintersgill

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