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?
close this folder1. The purpose of this book
View the documentChallenging myths and attitudes
View the documentProviding encouragement
View the documentChanging rehabilitation approaches
View the documentWhom is the book for?
close this folder2. Self-employment - An option for disabled people
View the documentDefining the terms
View the documentSelf-employment is not for everyone
View the documentWhy self-employment?
View the documentThe position of the disabled
View the documentDiscouragement from self-employment
View the documentMotivation for self-employment
View the documentWorking together
close this folder3. Disabled entrepreneurs: Case studies
close this folderThe sample
View the document(introduction...)
close this folderGroup I: Enterprises still receiving assistance
View the documentMary Gwande: The Jerusalem Tailors' Co-operative
View the documentThe Oyugis Sheltered Workshop
View the documentJambo's Shoe Repair business
View the documentMomodou Njie: The miller
View the documentCommentary: Group I
close this folderGroup II: Enterprises which received assistance
View the documentBabu Suryawanshi's dairy farm
View the documentThe Rainbow Kiosk
View the documentBinti Manoa's dressmaking school
View the documentFely Lucas: pavement vendor
View the documentBob Sabio and Sons: Figurines
View the documentCommentary: Group II
close this folderGroup III: Independent entrepreneurs
View the documentJosť Ocasla: Watch repairing
View the documentLamin Sambou: The tailor
View the documentAgripa Mutetsa's watch repairs
View the documentNazir Hakim's auto-rickshaw
View the documentManuel Tan: Waysonics Radio/TV Tutorship
View the documentGeorge Karasa: The Museka Butchery and General Store
View the documentMang Tibong: Miniature musical instruments
View the documentCommentary: Group III
View the documentNote
close this folder4. What do disabled entrepreneurs need?
View the documentProblems of the disabled self-employed
View the documentProblems before starting
View the documentShortage of capital
View the documentMarketing
View the documentOther problems
close this folder5. What is being done for disabled entrepreneurs?
View the documentOrganisations and their funding
View the documentClients and the objectives of rehabilitation
View the documentThe training offered
View the documentDuration of training
View the documentCapital
View the documentMarketing
View the documentFollow-up
close this folder6. Lessons to be learned
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentSelf-employment is not for everyone
View the documentThe disabled are not very different from other people
View the documentInstitutions should be local and flexible
View the documentFinance may be granted but loans must be repaid
View the documentAssistance must “bridge the gap”
close this folder7. Some thoughts for planners
View the documentThe global scene
View the documentSelf-reliance versus dependence
View the documentRethinking planning priorities
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

Self-employment is not for everyone

It is important to stress from the outset that self-employment is not a panacea through which every disabled person, or even a large proportion of the disabled, can become self-supporting and thus avoid the need for further assistance. “Entrepreneurship” is a dangerously fashionable term, and many governments and others are grasping at the concept of “enterprise” as the solution to all their economic problems. Only a minority of any given population is likely to possess the necessary attributes to start their own enterprise successfully. Even in the so-called “informal sector” in urban areas of many developing countries, where nearly everyone appears to be self-employed, it is clear on closer observation that most of them are actually employees working for smaller numbers who make the decisions as to what is bought, made and sold, and at what price.

The position of disabled people is no different; although some may be forced into self-employment because their disability disqualifies them from other forms of livelihood, there are many others whose disability makes them less likely to be able to start their own enterprises. Their physical incapacity may be such as to make self-employment impossible or very difficult, or the reactions of their families or the community to their disability may have the effect of reducing their self-confidence and making them less rather than more able to take the initiative.

It is, of course, impossible to state what proportion of any population of disabled people may reasonably be considered as potential entrepreneurs and expected to do the kind of things that the people described later in this book have been able to do. As pointed out above, the restrictions imposed by a disability may or may not affect the person's ability to work. This depends very much on individual circumstances, and for that reason no general conclusions can be drawn with respect to the appropriateness of certain types of jobs for people with certain types of disabilities. Quite contrary to common prejudice, which tends to associate certain disabilities with certain jobs, it is an established principle that each case requires individual assessment. This clearly means that the feasibility of a self-employment venture can be determined only when taking into account the very special circumstances of the individual. Not only does the disability count but even more the environment (e.g. family support, community attitudes, mobility problems or the market). But successful self-employment will above all else depend on whether the person has the necessary combination of personal characteristics to make him or her an entrepreneur. Although it is possible, as will be discussed later, to create or at least to reveal and enhance the personal characteristics which contribute to entrepreneurial success, it is neither humane, feasible nor cost effective to try to persuade or encourage any but a small minority of the disabled - or of any other group of people - to take this step.