BCEC Report

Small Business Enterprise Models of Employment

For persons with intellectual disabilities and high support needs
Report SeriesFeature
AuthorsErrol Cocks, Stian Thoresen, Robert Jackson, Allyson Thomson
PublishedFebruary 2018
PublisherBankwest Curtin Economics Centre
Number of Pages58

Adults with disabilities are substantially disadvantaged, economically and socially. Ample national and international comparative data indicate low labour force participation rates (just over 50%) and double the unemployment rates for persons without disabilities.

This report examines an emerging small business employment model that is personalised to cater for each individual’s needs and based on multiple sources of support including family and friends. The research studied four case studies, based in Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, where five young people with intellectual disabilities are working in Small Business Enterprise (SBE) models of employment, which are family-inspired small businesses that provide employment opportunities for relatives with disabilities.

These SBEs were distinguished by their focus on the needs and interests of each individual, the importance of building community connections and relationships, and flexible and innovative approaches to addressing the economic challenges of the SBEs. To the best of our knowledge, this may be the first systematic study of SBEs and the Report’s conclusions are particularly important for future evolution and development of this approach.