A post from Paul Woods, Managing Director.
‘A few years ago, I was asked by Small Business Britain if I would be interested in being interviewed, about my experiences of being a small business founder, with a disability.
It was quite a lengthy discussion, where I was asked about my business journey, and whether I had experienced prejudice and barriers to entry, that perhaps people without a disability would not have been subjected too.
From my perspective when I started Proactive Despatch and before that as an employee, I had experienced in the main, nothing but warmth and support from people genuinely looking out for me, wishing me well.
However, over the last year or so I have learnt, that is not the experience of a great number of other disabled people, that genuinely want to work and contribute to society.
I found out that:
25% of entrepreneurs are disabled or neurodiverse.
37% of those people feel that they have been discriminated against because of their disability.
33% of disabled entrepreneurs followed the entrepreneurship group out of necessity.
Numbers that really surprised me.
I had forgotten about my interview until last summer when Small Business Britain invited me to the House of Lords to discuss the Lilac review.
A review put together following interviews with a number of disabled entrepreneurs.
I sat around the table with my peers, the team at Small Business Britain, business leaders from large organisations, such as Lloyds Bank, Ebay and BT, and the Small Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake
Our collective experiences were discussed, and it was agreed there and then that a positive change had to be made.
Fast Forward to this week, I had the privilege of being invited to Downing Street on Wednesday followed by the official launch of the Lilac review yesterday at the head office of Lloyds bank in London.
Thanks to the team at Small Business Britain led by the tenacious Michelle Ovens CBE
Supported by Government and with the backing of big businesses that genuinely want to do help.
This issue is now being talked about and action has started.
Hopefully as a result, disabled people will encounter less barriers as employees, small business owners or scale ups.
Over the last few months and as a result of this initiative I have met some incredible people, who I look forward to collaborating with over the course of time.
Hopefully we and the business community in general, can do more to remove barriers and create opportunities for all.
If you are interested in the Lilac report more info is available below.
Thanks to everyone involved for helping to drive change, and for allowing me to be part of it, and making me feel so welcome.