A question I am asked regularly by disabled entrepreneurs is “Where do I start?” The answer more often than not is with their DEA or Disability employment Advisor at the local Job Centre. Every disabled person who is not in work and is claiming Benefits should have a DEA. A DEA’s job is to help people into employment or in this case, self employment, so in theory they should be a fountain of knowledge on the subject. Unfortunately because the subject is so broad (deafness, visual impaired, dyslexia, mobility problems) it’s impossible for them to be an expert on every disability and know every scheme, Benefit and organisation who could help you into self employment.
Nevertheless they are a good place to start. I would arrange an appointment with one of them, tell them about your plans to go self employed and ask what support is available.
There are 3 questions I would ask my DEA;-
1. What business organisations do they know of who can offer you support?
2. What Government schemes/benefits can help you start up in business?
3. Do they have any grants available for business start up?
1. Business organisations
They should know business organisations in your local area who can help you, but it’s important that you do your own research on who else is out there. It won’t be the first time your DEA has been asked for self employment advice and they should have had dealings which other organisations offering business support.
2. Schemes and Benefits
Your DEA should know different schemes and Benefits you are entitled to when starting your business. Schemes such as “Permitted Work”, “New Deal Test Trading” and “Return to Work Credit” can be ways of receiving Benefits whilst being self employed.
Sometimes a DEA has a discretionary grant to help people into employment, which could be up to £300.00. Traditionally this grant was used to buy clothing such as a suit for a job interview or some safety clothes for a building site. Now DEA are allowing people starting self employment to buy items needed for their business.