Support programme for entrepreneurs with disabilities
- RED – Emprendedores con Discapacidad (Entrepreneurs with disabilities)
- Independent Living Foundation Chile
- Country of Implementation
- Latin America & Caribbean
- South America
- Start Year
- First published
“Economic empowerment is a path to autonomy and independent living.” Jimena Luna, Founder, Fundación Vida Independiente, Chile
In 2020 Fundación Vida Independiente, an NGO based in Santiago de Chile, developed RED, a comprehensive support programme for entrepreneurs with disabilities and their families. RED provides accessibility training, personalized consulting, graphic material, and an online sales platform, initially working with entrepreneurs who have suffered financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Between 2020 and 2022, RED has grown from 100 to 180 registrations and has achieved nationwide reach.
There is a general lack of support systems and training for entrepreneurs with disabilities in Chile.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
The RED programme includes a support system for generating income for people with disabilities, their families, and organizations of and for people with disabilities. The programme has four components: (1) Training: This includes digital workshops on entrepreneurship in accessible formats (e.g., sign language, subtitles, and audio description) on topics such as creating business models, digital marketing, social media, etc. (2) Personalized advice: The project delivers individualized tools to entrepreneurs to strengthen their businesses. (3) Online store: RED includes an online sales platform offering products and services by entrepreneurs with disabilities. (4) Resources: The project provides materials on entrepreneurship in various accessible formats such as Braille, easy-to-read documents, and audio-visual formats. The participating entrepreneurs range from product vendors for stationery and office items to repair services for wheelchairs. RED was launched in 2020 with a pilot in the metropolitan region and 100 sign-ups, and in 2022 it was expanded nationwide with 180 participants
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
The project is primarily funded by public funds. The Ministry of Social Development, through the Chile Compromiso de Todos Fund, has financed $75,000. The SERCOTEC Technical Cooperation Service funded the project with $16,000, and the National Disability Service with $23,000. By 2025 the foundation hopes to collaborate with other countries to replicate the project. It also expects to add new entrepreneurs with disabilities within its network as well as to enter into partnerships with companies to acquire products created by entrepreneurs with disabilities and to fund the programme’s operations.