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Terry L. Howard, College of Business Administration, University of Detroit Mercy

Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Can Create and Sustain Successful Small Businesses

Entrepreneurs with disabilities (EWDs) are creating profitable businesses successfully and increasing their independence while contributing to the economy. There is a gap in the current literature regarding the statistics associated with EWDs and a lack of information within the extant body of research on business strategies employed by EWDs. The goal of this study is to understand the strategic decision-making choices of EWDs. The research design is a multiple case study format to determine what strategies EWDs employ to achieve and sustain profitability in their businesses. Interviews with EWDs and observations of their businesses were the primary data collection methods. The resulting themes included entrepreneur factors and managerial factors. The findings may encourage potential EWDs to take advantage of opportunities to customize their work to their needs and thus achieve flexibility and accommodation eliminating barriers to employment. Insights from this research can lead to new support programs that encourage entrepreneurship and facilitating financial independence.