∙ 84% of UK based disabled entrepreneurs say they don’t have equal access to the same opportunities and resources as non-disabled entrepreneurs
∙ Only 17% of those surveyed said they are treated equally to non-disabled business owners
∙ 92% said there is a lack of focus on investment opportunities for disabled entrepreneurs
The shocking oversight and systemic exclusion of disabled and neurodiverse entrepreneurs have been revealed for the first time by the Access2Funding campaign. This pioneering ongoing study found that 84% of the UK-based entrepreneurs surveyed do not have equal access to the same opportunities and resources as non-disabled entrepreneurs and only 17% of disabled entrepreneurs said they are treated equally to non-disabled entrepreneurs when seeking investment.
The survey spoke to people with varying visible, non-visible, neurological, chronic health and sensory health conditions.
A shocking 92% of the respondents said there is a palpable lack of focus on investment opportunities for disabled entrepreneurs with respondents citing risk management misconceptions, negative stereotypes, and capability misconceptions as reasons for the lack of investment opportunities. In addition, a third of respondents said they did not have access to investment opportunities due to inaccessible systems and processes.
Kamran Mallick, Access2Funding campaign partner and CEO at Disability UK comments on the results: “It is frustrating to see the clear barriers and lack of access disabled entrepreneurs find themselves in. Heading into economic uncertainty with limited national resources to spend on infrastructure, one of the most significant social and economic mobility assets is scaling entrepreneurship within every community.
“A quarter of small businesses are disabled owned and disabled entrepreneurs contribute almost 10% of GDP to the UK economy1, yet the opportunities for them are blatantly inequitable when compared to non-disabled business owners.
He continues: “This proves that a vast and untapped pool of innovative, driven and creative business owners is currently excluded from contributing even more to our economy, and we can equate this missed opportunity to approximately £500million a year.”
The new research, released by a congress of disabled entrepreneurs and leading disability-focused organisations under the campaign Access2Funding aims to transform opportunities and outcomes for disabled founders.
Joseph Williams, Co-Founder of the #Access2Funding campaign said: “It is time to stop underestimating the value of disabled people and work together to unlock one of the most under-tapped opportunity pools in the world. For so long, the astronomical potential of our creative, agile, and highly skilled community has been diminished because of a lack of understanding of the value we bring, despite many of the greatest thinkers, creators and innovators of all time coming from disabled communities.
“We want to create a movement of focus and opportunity for our community and to shine a light on the vast inequity we face when it comes to realising our potential as entrepreneurs. In addition, we want to show how the UK economy is missing out on valuable growth due to systemic barriers faced by disabled entrepreneurs wanting to grow their businesses.”
Diarra Smith, Head of Portfolio & Brand at Ada Ventures adds: “We are passionate about finding and funding extraordinary talent as they build breakthrough ideas for the hardest problems we face. We believe bold ideas are the ones that change the world and this is why we wanted to be a part of #Access2Funding. Disabled entrepreneurs will build some of the most significant companies of the future.”
The research has been released following the United Nation’s International Day of Disabled Persons which promotes the rights and well-being of disabled people in all spheres of society.