By Katie Sobiech
Creativity leaps off of the pages of a catalogue displaying the beautiful artwork of clients of Summit DD’s Community Employment Microenterprise Program.
Entrepreneurs, artists and authors make up just a few of these talented individuals titles.
Only 2 years old, this program has the already received the Governor’s Award for Business Administration in 2011, and been nominated for the same award for their arts.
This free, confidential service helps Summit DD clients who would like to start their own business. Together, they work on the brainstorming process, business plan, set-up, marketing materials, paperwork and start-up funding.
An example of one of their successes is Colleen Kelly, a Motivational Speaker and Author (www.TalksOnWheels.com).
The Microenterprise Adventure
“Microenterprise is about helping clients with their own businesses. I help people develop their own businesses,” Gary L. Peters, Microenterprise Advisor at Summit DD, said.
Peters currently oversees about 30 business activities.
“It’s about their talents and what they want to do with their own business,” he explained.
“There are 2 ladies making yoga pillows, we have a lot of artists, a paper shredding business, books, honey…,” he shared, “We have a taffy business. He just started and is doing very good.”
Most recently they published a book of poetry and are working on another children’s book.
They also make “disability themed” greeting cards, Peters said.
“I help them out in the beginning and usually they just spin off on their own. Once they get going I have very minimal contact with them,” Peters said.
What’s to Come
Last year their focus was on arts, this year it has shifted to food. With the whole food movement growing, Peters couldn’t imagine a better time.
“We’re getting into urban gardening. The whole local foods concept is a big field for disability employment,” he shared.
“I’m always looking for new ideas. It’s fun. We see what their interests are, what their capabilities are,” he continued.
As of right now their products can be found at local fair trade stores, including Market Path in Akron.
“It’s is a good outlet for us,” Peters said.
The Autism Society in Columbus also has a store that carries their items. Or you can find them at local events. Last year they attended nearly 20!
They are also looking for consignment shops to carry their items.
If you are interested in this opportunity please call or email Gary L. Peters for more information: 330-634-8186 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more info. on Summit DD, please visit http://www.summitdd.org .