A groundbreaking event for entrepreneurs and small business owners

National Disability Institute (NDI) held the national Disability Owned Small Business Convening on October 25 and 26, 2022. The convening brought together entrepreneurs and small business owners with disabilities, as well as entrepreneurial support organizations, policy makers, financial institutions and disability advocates from across the country.

View all videos on YouTube

VIEW BY TOPIC: Keynote & Plenary | Startup | Growth | General Resources |

Want to learn more about any of our speakers and presenters? Explore all speaker bios.

Keynote & Plenary Sessions

Day 1: Opening Remarks, Keynote Speakers & Plenary

Entrepreneurship and Me: Why I Started My Own Business
Entrepreneurs with disabilities share their personal stories and highlight key aspects of their business journeys.

Accessing Capital for Business Growth
Accessing capital can be crucial for business growth yet far too often business owners experience significant barriers. This diverse panel of lenders, business owners and credit experts will provide insights into what small businesses need to know, including discussing the importance of credit, how personal and business credit are connected, and the necessity of having finances and financial projections in good order.

Day 2: Welcome, Keynote & Plenary

Fireside Chat with Keely Cat-Wells and Diego Mariscal
During this conversation, Keely Cat-Wells, founder and president of C Talent, and Diego Mariscal, founder of 2Gether-International (2GI) discuss how Keely founded her first company during her time in hospital, which developed into C Talent. Keely shares lessons learned and provides insight into what is takes to successfully grow a business from scratch to one worth millions.

Reshaping the Future: A 21st Century Approach to Investing in Entrepreneurs with Disabilities
People with disabilities are the greatest innovators, yet unlike any other market segment, have lacked access to flexible, available risk capital. This plenary describes how the disability wealth gap can be closed through impact investing and how those with disabilities can and should play a central role in shaping the business ecosystem of tomorrow.

Day 2: Plenary & Closing Remarks

Why didn’t anyone tell me! Things I wish I had known about building a successful business
Entrepreneurs with disabilities share their experiences in building and growing their businesses. They describe the challenges they experienced and share their strategies for success.

Closing Address

Remarks from Michael Morris, Founder of National Disability Institute

Start-up Sessions

Starting a Business Without Money

Having little or no money to turn an idea into a business is not unusual nor does it have to mean the end of the entrepreneurship journey. This presentation will review the shortcuts and work arounds that should be considered when starting a business. Attendees will build a list of resources and best practices to lean on while developing their business idea.

Business Structures: The What and the Why

The business structure chosen impacts many areas of running a business including taxes and how much personal assets are at risk. There are even more considerations if a business owner is receiving public benefits. This session will provide an overview of the common business structures and explore what to consider when receiving SSDI, Medicare and Medicare financial assistance, SSI, and Medicaid.

Make This The Year of Your Small Business

HelloAlice.com helps small businesses owners thrive through free access to funding, resources, and a community of over one million small business owners. This presentation will cover emerging trends for small businesses; present best practices in finding and applying for grant funding; and provide tips on how to leverage digital marketing tools for business growth.

Marketing in a Digital World

How to get noticed and build community online, including positioning your business to stand out in a saturated marketplace, maximizing your digital reach, measuring the impact of your digital marketing, and more.

Business Start Up: From Idea to Reality

It is one thing having an idea for a product or service but developing that into a viable business takes a lot more than mere inspiration. This interactive session will explore what is needed to make that business concept become a successful reality. 

Growth Sessions

Managing Business Cash Flow

Cash flow is a key indicator of the financial health of a business. This presentation focuses on the steps that can be taken to manage cash flow as a business owner. It will highlight ways that small business owners can take control of their cash flow and create safeguards to keep cash flow positive.

Entering the World of International Trade: Are you global ready?

Two thirds of the world’s purchasing power and over 90% of consumers are outside the USA. For those businesses already successfully marketing to US Buyers, the time might be right to take the necessary steps to expand globally. This presentation will cover such topics as developing a globally ready business plan, identifying new global markets and where to go to get financing.

The Role of Cybersecurity in Today’s Small/Medium Business Market

Technology has become increasingly important to businesses of all sizes and with this comes the need to focus on cybersecurity. This panel of cybersecurity experts will highlight how cybersecurity, directly and indirectly, affects organizations’ short-term and long-term viability as well as the steps that small and medium business owners can take to enhance their cybersecurity program assurance without breaking the bank.

Obtaining Disability-Owned Business Enterprise (DOBE) Certification: Opportunities and Impact

As corporations and government agencies increasingly seek to diversify their supply chains, obtaining Disability-Owned Business Enterprise (DOBE) certification can provide increased access to contracts and opportunities to develop relationships with key corporate decision makers. This panel of DOBE business owners and a corporate supplier diversity representative will share their perspectives of the value of the DOBE certification.

The Essentials of Marketing and Selling to Government

Government agencies purchase billions of goods and services each year and can be an excellent source of revenue for a small business. However, sometimes the steps needed to obtain the work can seem formidable. This presentation will highlight what is needed for aspiring contractors to be able to identify, pursue and win prime and subcontractor opportunities with federal, state, and local government.

General Resource Sessions

Autonomous Vehicles and Disability-Owned Businesses: Needs and Opportunities

Access to reliable and equitable transportation has long been recognized as a significant challenge for people with disabilities, as well as Disability-Owned Business Enterprises (DOBEs). With autonomous vehicle (AV) fleets transitioning from research and development to early commercialization, this panel will explore what role AV technology can play in providing transportation access and delivery services for DOBEs and people with disabilities, drawing from the perspectives of a variety of business owners. 

Using the Science of Hope to Achieve Your Goals

As the nature of work shifts, worker well-being has become a high priority. When you run a small business, one of the employees you need to extend workplace wellness to is YOU. Research from the U.S Surgeon General notes that employees with higher well-being “have a better quality of life, a lower risk of disease and injury, increased work productivity, and a greater likelihood of contributing to their communities than employees with poorer well-being”. Let’s talk about the science behind worker well-being, how to make small changes that can have a big impact, and free tools you can use to improve well-being within your company.

Essentials of Bookkeeping

Many business owners regard bookkeeping as a tedious chore which takes time away from working on the actual business. However, the reality is very different. Having clarity about financials enables entrepreneurs to manage current cashflow and plan for business growth. This presentation provides an overview of key bookkeeping principles and provides ample opportunity for participants to get their questions answered. 

Advancing Entrepreneurship: A Pathway to Equalize Access and Independence

This workshop shares how fully accessible entrepreneurship programming can be an economic pathway to equalize access and independence for people with disabilities. It also addresses the importance for equal representation of founders with disabilities within the entrepreneurship landscape and procurement process/supply chain, the critical need for creating a thriving, accessible ecosystem, and how more public funding should be directed towards entrepreneurs with disabilities as part of broader DEI efforts.

Square Solutions: Tools for Your Business Even If It’s Not Business as Usual

Square revolutionized payments in 2009 with Square Reader, making it possible for anyone to accept card payments using a smartphone or tablet. Today, Square builds tools to empower businesses and individuals to participate in the economy. Sellers use Square to reach buyers online and in-person, manage their business, and access financing.  This session will provide an overview of all the tools offered by Square that help businesses of all sizes to start, run, and grow their business.

Sponsored by:
Logos for Wells Fargo, Cruise, Square, and JPMorgan Chase