Universal Inclusion, through CEO and Founder Jacqueline Winstanley's fellowship with The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), has been awarded a Covid-19 Catalyst Grant to continue its work with The Inclusive Entrepreneur Network.
The RSA Covid-19 Catalyst Grant was fast-tracked and awarded to Fellows’ projects responding to Covid-19 and its effects; specifically, scalable initiatives which ease the social and structural pressures of Covid-19, providing support on the ground now and building bridges to the future.
Within Universal Inclusion, this grant is supporting the shift of The Inclusive Entrepreneur Network's operations from face-to-face support to online support. It will fund a series of podcasts which will bring to life the business resilience shown by Inclusive Entrepreneurs within The Inclusive Entrepreneur Network through their stories and shared experiences. The Inclusive Entrepreneur Network is run by Jacqueline Winstanley FRSA.
The Inclusive Entrepreneur Network was featured in the RSA's blog as one of three projects supported by the Catalyst Awards Grants.
Following is an excerpt of the blog entry which can also be found here: https://www.thersa.org/discover/publications-and-articles/rsa-blogs/2020/06/good-work-grants
Inclusive Entrepreneurs Online - supporting people with disabilites in business
Inclusive Entrepreneurs Online is a network which provides business support primarily to people with disabilities who, because of their condition, are often excluded from 'traditional' workplace roles.
The network provides a business-to-business marketplace, a 10-session programme to provide help on the road to entrepreneurship, and “a showcase of the incredible aspiration and achievements of people who have faced significant barriers”.
According to Jacqueline Winstanley, head of the programme, it was clear very early on that many members of the network were devastated by the disruption caused by the crisis. Not only because of the business interruption, but also the disempowering feeling that they had no say over the measures which were being put in place to support businesses.
Meanwhile, the difficulties in accessing sector-specific types of support has left many disabled entrepreneurs in the network in a very precarious economic position. Many are considering shifting their operations online but might require more holistic support that encompasses measures for managing health conditions.
The RSA catalyst grant is contributing to shifting the network’s operations from face-to-face support to online support.
Central to these efforts have been the online 'Friday briefings'. These events have quickly become spaces where “members felt somebody was giving them a voice and a mechanism through which to try and influence things”, and where they could discuss innovations they were putting in place in the shift online.
Not only have the briefings been successful in achieving this, they have also allowed the network to contribute very timely policy recommendations to the Chancellor and DWP regarding the Access to Work Awards, fast tracking of new applications, amending the self-employed income support scheme to recognise the needs of disabled entrepreneurs, and suspending the Annual Turnover requirements.
Going forward, Jacqueline is convinced:
“we need an appreciation of how entrepreneurs with protected characteristics run their business, the value they have and the positive impact they have on the economy.”
If projects like this were to be replicated the impact on the employment gap, and thus on the economy, could be huge.
If you are interested in finding out more about how you can join The Inclusive Entrepreneur Network and benefit as an #Inclusive #Entrepreneur, please contact Jacqueline Winstanley FRSA using our contact page.
You are also invited to attend our Friday Briefing sessions. Please click here to access the registration link.
You may wish to browse through the previous briefings which you can access here.