Motivation for self-employment
This form of ostracism or exclusion from society may, however,
be more than outweighed by the sympathy which many people feel for the disabled.
Some may avoid them but others may give them preference when making buying
decisions, allocating space or giving licences in the same way that some firms
give special preference to disabled employees. Many disabled people, and
particularly those who are of the type to want to become self-employed, might be
reluctant to accept this element of charity or support, but it has to be
accepted like any other fact and it may in some cases make all the difference
between failure and success.
There are a number of other positive factors which may make it
easier rather than harder for some disabled people to survive in their own
businesses. Entrepreneurship is frequently associated with the will to overcome
the state of social marginality; people who are in some way excluded
from society often derive from this the motivation to take the risky and
original initiative of starting their own enterprise. This may be because they
have no alternative.
One case in point may be refugees, who are perhaps the most
obviously marginalised group. They usually arrive in their host country with
little more than the clothes they stand up in, having often suffered physically
and psychologically during their flight from their own country. Yet in spite of
these difficulties, or perhaps because of them, refugees have, through
self-employment, become prosperous members of their new countries and have often
made a major contribution to their economic development.
A blind masseur working in the
It is often the psychological condition of disabled people that
makes them particularly likely to do well and persevere in self-employment, for
if this is successful, it is also a particularly effective way of establishing
somebody's confidence and of achieving genuine rehabilitation not only of the
body but also of the spirit.
Disability can also be a stimulus for independent
problem-solving and innovation. Disabled children often develop new and
effective ways of moving around, communicating or otherwise overcoming their
problems. Nobody in the family or the community has been faced with the same
problem before. The experience of facing and coping with difficulties which are
unfamiliar can be a valuable, if onerous, form of personal development.
Entrepreneurs have been defined as people who put things together in new
ways. This is exactly what disabled people have to do.
In a more direct, physical sense, people who have lost the use
of one faculty, or have never possessed it, are more likely to be able to
concentrate single-mindedly on a task which needs the faculties that they do
possess than those who possess other faculties which are not being used and are
thus likely to be a source of distraction. Massage is perhaps the most obvious
example; blind masseurs are well known for their skill, and there are many
examples of blind people who are able to succeed partly because they can
transmit all their skill and concentration through their fingers rather than
being disturbed by sight, which is fundamentally unnecessary for massage.
Deaf people develop their own ways of keeping company with
themselves without the distraction of conversation; if their business is of a
kind where they do not regularly have to speak to other people or where such
contact can be facilitated as necessary by outsiders, they may be particularly
effective because of their ability to concentrate and to avoid