A business association designed to support business owners with a disability is opening in Portland.
The Differently-Abled Business Association will support entrepreneurs with disabilities who are starting or expanding their businesses. The association's office is at 2240 N. Interstate Ave., Suite 140, on the Max line.
The association was created through a partnership of the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette and East County One Stop, a community alliance of 40 agencies supporting a "one-stop" workforce development system in East Multnomah County.
"East County One Stop is thrilled that the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette has chosen to support the development of the Differently-Abled Business Association to support business owners who also have a disability," said Joan Pasco, project manager, East County One Stop and consultant for workforce and community development.
"East County One Stop's mission is to support employment options that bring people to self-sufficiency," Pasco added. "We believe self-employment is a viable and desirable path for many individuals, especially persons with disabilities as their access to the traditional workforce can often be challenging."
Kris Kennedy, of Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Services, said she hoped counselors would refer clients interested in self-employment to the program.
The services provided by the Differently-Abled Business Association are available to self-employed individuals with disabilities. These include:
• Business coaching: This program will offer support for clients through a mentor;
• Counseling: Participants will receive one-on-one business support;
• Business directory: Business services will be listed in a directory;
• Library: Access to an Internet library for business and support resources will be available;
• Quarterly newsletter: The newsletter will highlight participants and events in the community;
• Computer lab: Access to a computer lab will be provided for participants; and
• Web link: A Web page will be provided for up-to-date information on the community.
In addition, the Differently-Abled Business Association is planning a "Virtual Internet Procurement Fair," an interactive trade fair to explore bidding opportunities and provide interaction with government agencies.
"The Differently-Abled Business Association is an exciting forward-thinking program, since it is the only trade association of its kind that provides the resources, support and education specifically for persons with disabilities," said Kedma Ough, director of the Differently-Abled Business Association.
For more information, call Jeannie, 503-998-9560, or e-mail her at Jeannie@ avitabiz.com.