Startup incubator for people with intellectual disabilities begins in Mayfield

STARTUP CULTURE: Participants of Challenge Community Services’ Start Up course Hamish Korbi, Jonathan Bridge, and Amparo Morgan with program co-ordinator Katie Butler. Picture: Max Mason-HubersMeet Newcastle’s next cohort of entrepreneurs.

Young, innovative and passionate about what they canoffer the city’s residents, thestudents participating in a new18-month startup program are challengingthe idea that people with intellectual disabilitiescannot create, and sustain, their own businesses.

Michael Peard, 19, of Maitland, already runs his own startup. He says his goalisn’t just self-employment.

“I am going to employ someone one day, it’s going to come to a head,” he said.

BUILDING CLIENT BASE: Michael Peard, 19, is already running his own mobile car detailing business. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

After completing an internship in car detailing,Mr Peard swapped his shifts atMcDonald’s for creatinghis own mobileservice called ‘Sparkles with Shine’.

“Vacuuming, polishing, hand-washing the car, doing the wheels and tires and dressing them… Ilove working with cars because cars are my favourite,” he said.

Mr Peardsaid he hoped the course, held in Mayfield,wouldteachhim more marketing strategies.

“It’s a great journey, it takes time to get where you want to go,” he said.

Jonathan Bridgeof Raymond Terrace, 21, says he has struggled to find joband training opportunities that suit his skills and interests, but has an idea that would allow him to work in his dream field.

“I’m a wannabe game developer. I’ve tried, but me and courses don’t get along nicely,” he said.

After playing a board game with friends ofdifferingintellectual abilities, he came up with aplan torun an accessible board games group.

“There wasvalue to the connection and community it provides,” he said.

Mr Bridgewould modify and select games to suit the players. Participants wouldinclude the activity as an expense intheir NDIS plans.

“I found that people like working together. If I could potentially rig up some kind of team mode for these games then people can come along and have a full competitive experience,” he said.

Challenge Community Services’ Beth Innes, who designed and secured government funding for the“completely new” program, which is in its second week,said it would cover “pretty much every aspect of starting a business”.

“I guess the reason the idea came about is because people with disabilities, more so physical disabilities, are actually over-represented as business owners,” she said.

IDENTIFYING STRENGTHS: Amparo Morgan, 33, would like to start her own business in animal care. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

“Some of them because they can’t get mainstream employment. A lived experience of having a disability also gives you ideas that other people don’t see.

“I thoughtthen why not people with intellectual disabilities? Because they have faced similar barriers.”

Amparo Morgan, 33, of The Hill, who is currently working as a cleaner said she did not have a specific businessidea yet but would like to look after other people’s pets.

“I’m a big believer in animal care,” she said.

The incubator’s participants will pitch their businesses to interested community members at the end of the course.

For more information about the Start Up program [email protected]老域名出售.au.

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