Disabled Businesspersons Association: Offering Assistance Every Step of the Way
Megan O'Neil, World Institute on Disability's Access to Assets Program
Urban Miyares is a nationally recognized businessman, entrepreneur, and disabled Vietnam veteran dedicated to helping entrepreneurs with disabilities. He has won numerous awards including Inc. Magazine's "Entrepreneur Of The Year," the "National Veteran Small Business Advocate of the Year Award" by the U.S. Small Business Association, and the prestigious Presidential Point Of Light Award -- presented annually by the President of the United States to recognize an individual's outstanding volunteer service directed at solving critical social problems.
Being a disabled businessperson since 1968, Miyares experienced a number of medical complications throughout his self-employment years, including the complete loss of his eyesight in 1984, primarily due to diabetes. He realized early in his business career that there were no qualified entrepreneurial or business counseling services available to address the unique needs and challenges of an enterprising person with a disability. As a result, Miyares founded the Disabled Businesspersons Association (DBA), an international, non-profit, volunteer-based organization that provides disabled entrepreneurs with free resources and counseling for the evaluation and development of their business. DBA helps disabled entrepreneurs and professionals maximize their potential in the business world. Its services include business advice and counseling, market research, equipment research and evaluation, and training in business planning, marketing, and other topics. Since 1985, DBA has served over 12,000 people with disabilities, and assisted hundreds of professionals in vocational rehabilitation, career and business counseling, nationwide.
DBA is comprised of successful business owners, professionals and executives with disabilities who generously donate their time to assist enterprising individuals with disabilities. They provide free, on-call, Internet-based business consultancy directed at anyone with a disability, and to those working directly with people having disabilities. They offer a complete package of services from business identification and evaluation, to the planning process and launch phase, identifying financial resources and business management, to on-going business assistance and services. DBA recognizes that disabilities often present challenges for people wanting to start their own businesses- ranging from questions about benefits and working with vocational rehabilitation programs, to the medical, physical, mental, or social effects of having a disability and being in business. As active business people, their goal at DBA is to provide some of the solutions and take the mystery out of competing in the world of business, to help ensure the success of entrepreneurs with disabilities.
Urban Miyares offers valuable advice for people with disabilities thinking about self-employment: "Self-employment is not for everyone. But for those frustrated with their current lifestyle and willing to take those steps to make change in their lives, self-employment may be that option which opens doors to opportunity, promotes workplace entry, increases social inclusion and mainstreaming, improves health, enhances financial security, and establishes a legacy for those you love". For those willing to do their homework and take control of their future, DBA is there to help.
Disabled Businesspersons Association
Dedicated to assisting active and enterprising individuals with disabilities maximize their potential in the business world, and to work with vocational rehabilitation, government, and business to encourage the participation and enhance the performance of the disabled in the workforce.
Brief List of Services
- Online Consulting and Coaching services in the areas of:
- Business identification
- Business and product preliminary evaluation
- Market research and analysis
- Business plan development and review
- Documentation Review and Editing
- Financial packaging
- Development of Marketing Strategy
- Public Relations and Advertising
- Human Resources
- Business Development
CHALLENGED AMERICA - recreational rehabilitation
YEP! San Diego - Youth Entrepreneurs Program
Profile of an Entrepreneur with a Disability- Paul Orfalea
Paul Orfalea founded Kinko's in 1970 near the University of California at Santa Barbara with a simple idea: provide college students with products and services they need at a competitive price. From its modest beginnings, Kinko's is now the world's leading business services chain. Today, there are over 1,200 Kinko's worldwide. Orfalea is in high demand for public speaking, often addressing business organizations, such as entrepreneurs and working people, and learning-challenged groups with his inspirational messages. Mr. Orfalea has several learning disabilities, including dyslexia and attention deficit disorder.
Information and Photo courtesy of http://www.orfaleafamilyfoundation.org/profile.htm and The New York Times Sunday, Nov.23, 2003 "In Learning Hurdles, Lessons for Success" By Rob Turner.