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Ability Connect’s Aspiring Entrepreneurs with Disability Development Programme

Ability Connect’s Aspiring Entrepreneurs with Disability Development Programme

If you’re a disabled person interested in entrepreneurship, or a new disabled business owner looking to grow your skillset, the Aspiring Entrepreneurs with Disability Development Programme could be just the thing for you! Created by Ability Connect and the University of Leicester, the new programme is free to sign up for and could be the launch pad for your entrepreneurial journey.

It’s no secret that becoming a successful entrepreneur can be one of the most challenging, but also empowering paths in life. 

For disabled entrepreneurs navigating the world of work and business, the barriers faced can be even more daunting. Research by #Access2Funding found that over 90% of disabled founders in the UK believe they are not treated equally to non-disabled founders.

And this is not a small cohort of people. It is thought as many as 25% of entrepreneurs are disabled or neurodiverse, according to a Disability and Entrepreneurship report by Lloyds and Small Business Britain. Yet this same report also found that a majority of disabled entrepreneurs did not get any support when starting their business; either financial, training, advice or other support. This gulf in support and guidance, in a world already not made with disabled people in mind, means that the challenges of starting a business are amplified if you’re disabled. This can mean many aspiring entrepreneurs are unsure of how to take the leap and begin their journey. 

The question is, how can we support disabled entrepreneurs and provide them with the vital support they need?

What is the Aspiring Entrepreneurs with Disability Development Programme?

Here’s where the School of Business at the University of Leicester and Ability Connect’s Aspiring Entrepreneurs with Disability Development Programme (EDDP) comes in. EDDP empowers individuals with disabilities by cultivating essential business skills to break down barriers and open doors to opportunities to enable success. A one-of-a-kind initiative designed by disabled people, for disabled people, the programme was co-developed by Dr. Mark Esho MBE and Ability Connect to equip disabled entrepreneurs with the tools they need to pursue their ambitions. According to Dr. Esho, “My motivation for creating the programme was to offer disabled entrepreneurs something that I wish I had when I started out in business.”

A fully remote course delivered in a friendly and supportive environment, the programme has two main parts:

  1. Firstly, a taster course spans over two days and is composed of four modules. In this part, entrepreneurs will cover Financial Planning, Business Model Creation, Digital and Social Media Marketing, and Resilience for an entrepreneurial mindset.

  2. Secondly, the business accelerator programme provides a more extensive experience, spanning a duration of 6 months to a year. This goes into greater depth, exploring the topics introduced in the initial taster course.

The 4 Pillars of EDDP

The Aspiring Entrepreneurs with Disability Development Programme is comprised of four key modules, all of which have been designed to prepare participants for the rigours of the modern business environment.

  1. Financial planning is essential to ensure that entrepreneurs can manage finances effectively and make informed decisions about investments, cash flow, and budgeting. 

  2. Going hand-in-hand with financial planning, business model creation helps entrepreneurs to develop a clear understanding of their business model, target market, and revenue streams.

  3. Digital and social media marketing is essential to any modern business strategy. In today's digital age, entrepreneurs are required to understand digital marketing channels such as social media, email, content marketing, and search engine optimisation to reach their target audience. This programme provides comprehensive training in these areas to help entrepreneurs develop a robust and effective digital marketing strategy.

  4. Finally, resilience for an entrepreneurial mindset is fundamental for helping entrepreneurs develop the mental and emotional strength they need to overcome challenges and setbacks. With resilience, entrepreneurs can bounce back from failures and setbacks and stay focused on their goals.

Introducing aspiring disabled entrepreneurs to these critical components for success, participants will be more than ready to take on the challenges of enterprise.

Benefits of the programme - Why apply?

Equipping you with the skills outlined above, the Aspiring Entrepreneurs with Disability Development Programme also has a range of other benefits:

  • The course is completely free - EDDP is completely free and has been designed to remove barriers to entry and help aspiring disabled entrepreneurs reach their full potential. 

  • Accessibility - The programme is fully remote, eliminating physical barriers that are too often present in conventional in-person business workshops. 

  • Designed by disabled people, for disabled people - Unlike other virtual business programmes, EDDP has been designed by disabled people, for disabled people. Understanding the unique challenges that disabled people face when it comes to business, the programme demonstrates the impact that disabled entrepreneurs can have on each other, businesses and society as a whole.

  • Inclusive environment & community - As the programme has been specifically designed for disabled entrepreneurs, you’ll be completing the course alongside a group of like-minded and value-aligned individuals. This is a wonderful opportunity to network, collaborate and work together to make waves in the world of business. Who knows, you may even find your next business partner!

  • Access to expertise - Learn from expert teachers with first-hand experience with disabled entrepreneurship. All of Ability Connect’s trainers are disabled themselves or have an in-depth understanding of disability, so you’ll be learning from people who are both knowledgeable and inclusive in equal parts.

  • Self-Advocacy - Engaging in this course will help you become a more effective self-advocate, helping you to articulate yourself in both educational and business settings. Although organisations are becoming more inclusive and accessible by the day, work still needs to be done. We want to encourage confidence through the empowerment of disabled entrepreneurs, preparing you to make real and impactful positive change.

With all of these benefits in mind, why not sign up today and see where the taster course takes you? For information on the next cohort of EDDP and how to get involved, keep reading…

Application Information and Requirements

When is the next course?

The next two-day remote EDDP cohort will be held from 10 am to 4 pm on Tuesday 7th November to Wednesday 8th November 2023.

When do applications close?

Applications close on Tuesday 31st October 2023. If you’re interested, reserve your spot as soon as possible!

Am I eligible to apply?

To be eligible to apply, you must:

  • Identify as disabled under the Equality Act (2010) definition of disability as someone with a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ effect on their ability to do normal daily activities.

  • Be a new business owner who has been operating for less than two years.

How do I apply?

To apply for the programme, simply visit the Aspiring Entrepreneurs with Disability Development Programme Eventbrite page and reserve a spot.

Once you have reserved a spot, you will be contacted by a member of the EDDP to complete a simple application form. You will then find out whether you have been accepted onto the programme.

Will the course cost anything?

No! The EDDP course is completely free and is here to help aspiring disabled entrepreneurs reach their full potential.

Is it restricted to the UK?

No! The EDDP is open to applicants from all around the world. Ability Connect encourages diversity and believes that everyone should have the chance to shine, regardless of their background and location.


If you’re a budding disabled entrepreneur ready to take the leap, the Aspiring Entrepreneurs with Disability Development Programme could be just the course for you. Developed in collaboration with one of the UK’s leading business schools, Ability Connect’s course is a one-of-a-kind initiative designed by disabled people, for disabled people.

Providing disabled business owners and future entrepreneurs with the tools they need to break down barriers and excel, EDDP will help you gain invaluable practical skills, and the mindset required to succeed in the modern business world. A free and innovative two-day programme, EDDP will give you the foundation you need to start your journey of growth and development.

To be a part of the next cohort from Tuesday 7th November to Wednesday 8th November 2023, reserve your place now by visiting the Aspiring Entrepreneurs with Disability Development Programme Eventbrite page!

Applications close on Tuesday 31st October 2023, so apply now!


Published: 3rd October 2023

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