The Chicagoland Entrepreneurship Education for People with Disabilities (CEED) Project

January 26, 2015

Sarah Parker Harris of the Illinois UCEDD at the University of Illinois at Chicago and her team recently received a grant award for The Chicagoland Entrepreneurship Education for People with Disabilities (CEED) project from the Coleman Foundation! The CEED project will bridge entrepreneurship with disability by developing and providing a comprehensive entrepreneurship education and training program for people with disabilities and service providers working in Disability Community Agencies and Small Business Development Centers in Illinois.

This will be accomplished through a dual focused, person-centered approach that combines disability and business knowledge/practices, and targets the needs and barriers specifically experienced by people with disabilities looking to start or grow a business. Additionally, the project will establish the first business planning competition for entrepreneurs with disabilities. The project will build upon and complement existing programs for entrepreneurship in both disability and business fields. A key gap in this area is the lack of awareness of what resources, supports, and information exist, where to find it, and how to use it.

The project meets a need in the community expressed by people with disabilities, their families, and service providers, but it also helps SBDCs increase their capacity to provide accessible business development services for people with disabilities. Further, this project will develop the skills of service providers across both disability and business fields to enhance collaboration in order to more effectively assess an individual's preparedness, needs and progress in entrepreneurship.

The project team includes: Sarah Parker Harris, PhD (Principal Investigator); Maija Renko, PhD, DSc (Co-Principal Investigator); Rod Shrader, PhD (Co-Investigator); Robin Jones, MS (Co-Investigator); Rob Gould, MS (Project Coordinator); and Kate Caldwell, PhD (Post-Doctoral Fellow).