Cover Image
close this bookSelf-Employment for Disabled People - Experiences from Africa and Asia (ILO, 1989, 100 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentIntroduction: What is this book about?
Open this folder and view contents1. The purpose of this book
Open this folder and view contents2. Self-employment - An option for disabled people
Open this folder and view contents3. Disabled entrepreneurs: Case studies
Open this folder and view contents4. What do disabled entrepreneurs need?
Open this folder and view contents5. What is being done for disabled entrepreneurs?
Open this folder and view contents6. Lessons to be learned
Open this folder and view contents7. Some thoughts for planners
View the documentAnnex I. Guide-lines for assistance to self-employment
View the documentAnnex II. Institutions surveyed
View the documentAnnex III. Further reading
View the documentOther ILO publications
View the documentBack cover

Annex I. Guide-lines for assistance to self-employment


· Self-employment is not for all, or even the majority, of the disabled.

· Self-selection is the best form of selection; it is necessary to ensure that those who ask for assistance are actually capable of becoming self-employed by asking them to do the preparatory work, gather information and so on, as far as is practical, so that they realise for themselves what is involved and drop out if they cannot manage.

· People who have no idea about what sort of business they might undertake are unlikely to be able to make a success of any business.

· Experience and commitment are far more important than education and qualifications.

· Earlier failure is the best preparation for future success.

· Persistence and initiative are the most important qualities, and these can be appraised from anyone's past history.

The choice of business

· The best idea is the one someone has himself or herself; the business that seems the most promising to an outsider will be no good if the potential entrepreneur does not believe in it.

· The market is the most important factor in any enterprise, however small; without customers, no business can even start.

· Every business must have a “unique selling point”: Why will people buy its products or services, rather than someone else's? If there is no reason, there will probably be no customers either.

· Market research is often too vague; the prospective self-employed should know who, specifically and by name, will be his or her customers.


· Money should only be lent if it can reasonably be expected to be repaid; otherwise, grants are better.

· Every enterprise needs fixed capital for equipment, and working capital to keep it going during the time between payment for supplies and receipts from customers. Working capital is often the more important of the two, and is often neglected.

· Loan repayments should be calculated so that the borrower is better off than before the business started, even after making the repayments.

· Those who become self-employed should invest something of their own, even if it is only initial unpaid work; if the business costs an individual nothing, he or she will not fight to keep it alive.

· Loans should be quick to obtain and easy to repay; slow procedures and bureaucracy are far more serious than high interest rates, as the continuing success of moneylenders shows.


· People must learn what they can use, not what the institution is equipped to teach.

· Existing businesses are often better training-grounds than any special training workshop.

· Business records are only of value if the self-employed can use them as well as keep them. If they cannot, it is a waste of time to prepare them.

· People cannot be taught; they must learn for themselves.

· Self-confidence is more important than specific skills; if people believe they can do something, they usually can.


· Entrepreneurs must be allowed to fail; “give it up” is often the best advice.

· People need continuing contact with others who are self-employed; this is often more helpful than advice from an outsider.

· It is important for the self-employed, and for assistance agencies, to recognise when assistance is no longer necessary, and to stop it.

· The self-employed need to be asked to talk about their problems, not told what to do.

· There are many institutions which help the self-employed; introductions to the specialists are better than help from the ignorant.