RIDDC Helps Disability Community Launch Businesses While Overcoming Covid Challenges

March 11, 2021 8:39 AM EST

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WARWICK, R.I., March 11, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- March highlights the annual Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month (DDAM). Since March 2020 – just about 1 year ago – when the COVID-19 pandemic started, the developmental disabilities (DD) community has been met with – and overcoming challenges. Some of these challenges have been faced by individuals around the world, but for the DD community some of these challenges - such much of our work, education, and interactions moving online - have been particularly daunting. For the DD community, a remote world isn't the most accessible world. Some aren't familiar with using computers for their communications and education, while for others it's simply not possible. However, for a community that is entrenched in a hands-on world, they have adapted the best they can.

Throughout the past year, Rhode Island Developmental Disabilities Council (RIDDC) has been a nationwide leader in adapting to meet the needs of the community they serve. Kevin Nerney, Executive Director and panelist at Providence Business News Diversity and Inclusion Summit, said, "Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we have continued to promote the benefits of community inclusion and participation in the entrepreneurial world."

In the third year of their flagship Self-Employment Business Class program, they've quickly pivoted and moved to an online format. Sue Babin, Program Coordinator said, "We found ways to communicate with our learners effectively while providing the education and content needed to launch or improve businesses."

RIDDC has provided assistance to our community by:

  • Hosting 2-3 series of Self-Employment Business Classes per year (8 classes per session), with approximately 90 participants since the program's inception
  • Creating a Business Directory of DD community members
  • Hosting weekly Zoom networking meetings so that local DD community business owners could meet and share ideas and experiences
  • Assisting business owners with finding opportunities to sell their products at farmers' markets, expos, flea markets, etc. We help secure their booths/tables and underwriting registration fees
  • Hosting the 3rd annual SBS ShopRI event digitally. Business owners and makers showcased their products during the holiday shopping
  • Laptop computers are provided, as needed for business application
  • Technical assistance in creating business and marketing plans, logos, and promotional pieces
  • Providing grants up to $2,500 to qualified participants

In addition to this program, the RIDDC will continue and expand its mission as a strong advocate for civil rights, fair housing, education, recreation, and every aspect that contributes to creating a full life.

Debra Morais 4019340708 304922@email4pr.com  

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SOURCE Rhode Island Developmental Disability Council

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