Contact: Julie Willmot
(609) 278-7137

Kathy Hopkins could have adapted to her challenge of being deaf, maintained a job (or not) and blended quietly into the mainstream. But no. She challenged her abilities and instead started ASL Interpreters Service to make a significant difference helping interpret emergency, law and general communication to people who are hearing impaired.

Sherlock Washington could have isolated himself and his blindness to the same journey..or not  But no. He challenged his abilities and started SW Unlimited distributing technology products that enhance productivity for people with disabilities.

There is a hidden workforce and well spring of entrepreneurial potential in our citizens with disabilities. With today's advances in technology, individuals with disabilities are on the leading edge of a new workforce and entrepreneurial revolution. As the economic landscape changes within the world, so do the burgeoning opportunities to not only employ disabled citizens, but give entrepreneurs with disabilities the chance to launch a venture and offer services in this global marketplace.

On October 2, The Small Business Development Center(SBDC) at The College of New Jersey's(TCNJ) Entrepreneur Achievement Center(EAC) will host ABILITIES MATTER: ENTREPRENEURS WITH DISABILITIES, to offer business and counseling information, inspiration and services to entrepreneurs with disabilities.

This kick-off event will present how the SBDC can offer vital services from thought to finish on how to start, finance, market and staff small or medium sized business. The 9:45am-1:00pm program held at the college will feature 2 panels: 6 successful entrepreneurs who overcame their challenges achieving success in their own personal enterprise and 7 resource organizations providing support and services for individuals with disabilities. (See attached flyer)

Lorraine Allen, SBDC Regional Director, organized an advisory board of leading resources and thinkers working within the disabilities market to create the EAC vision and programs supporting the entrepreneurial dreams of our neighbors who face limiting challenges with their unlimited commitment to succeed. EAC advisory board members include Mercer County Office for the Disabled, Progressive Center for Independent Living, Henry H. Kessler Foundation, Allies, Inc., American Disabilities Corporation and Elizabeth Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities.

The Entrepreneur Achievement Center vision is dedicated to inspire and guide entrepreneurs with disabilities and entrepreneurs over age 50 with resources vital in their pursuit of success. These resources and activities promote business ownership, self-employment, and greater economic independence.

$15 fee for the program includes morning refreshments.  To register to participate, call the SBDC at 609-771-2947 or register online at www.tcnj.edu/sbdc

Lorraine Allen, SBDC at TCNJ, 609-771-2947 lallen@tcnj.edu
Neil Tucker, American Disabilities Corporation, 609-610-5584, neilt@ameridiscorp.com

Elaine Katz, Henry H Kessler Foundation, 973.324.8367, ekatz@hhkfdn.org
Tom Shaw, Mercer County Office of Disabled (he is sending a rep), 609-989-6468, tshaw@mercercounty.org
Scott Elliott, Progressive Center for Independent Living, 609-581-4500, scott.elliott@pcil.org
Emad Samad, Allies Inc, 609-689-0136, x131, esamad@alliesnj.org
Anthony Camuso, Elizabeth Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, 732-235-9318, anthony.camuso@umdnj.edu

Success Stories
Christine Sherwood & Kathy Hopkins: ASL Interpreter Referral Services 800-275-7551, auraasl@aol.com, aslirs@aol.com
Michael Melillo, SocialChord LLC, 732-317-4445, michael.melillo@gmail.com
Cynthia DeSouza, IHS Technology Development, Ms Wheelchair 2008, njcwd_essexchapter@verizon.net,
Sherlock Washington, SW UnLimited, 732-290-1677, sherlock@swunlimited.com
Stephen Bacque PhD The Bacque Group, 908-276-1074, dr.sbacque@thebacquegroup.com