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Day 1 Sessions
Welcome & Opening Plenary
From Vision to Reality: How I Started My Own Business
Entrepreneurs with disabilities share their personal stories and highlight key aspects of their business journeys as they sought to turn their innovative ideas into a thriving business.
Knowing Your Numbers
Business Financials 101
Running a successful business requires more than just having an innovative idea, a great product, and outstanding marketing. The health and viability of your business depends on your understanding of its financial health. This session will provide essential tools and techniques entrepreneurs can utilize to manage the health of their business and grow it. We will review key metrics from the three financial statements (income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows), and how you can use them to make critical decisions.
Autonomous Vehicles and Disability-Owned Businesses
The Future is Now
Increasingly, autonomous vehicles (AVs) are being seen on city streets, be it Cruise’s driverless rides in San Francisco, Austin or Phoenix or AVs making deliveries to customers. Since access to reliable and equitable transportation has long been recognized as a significant challenge for people with disabilities, AVs have the potential to be transformative, providing the needs of the disability community are fully considered. This session will highlight Cruise’s recent developments and successes, explore what it will take to maximize accessibility, and consider the potential of AVs to support the delivery and transportation needs of disability owned businesses.
Hosting on Airbnb
Short-term rentals are an increasingly popular way to earn income and can range from a bedroom in a city apartment or family home to an Airstream in the desert or a beach house by the sea. Hosting a space with accessibility features widens the potential pool of guests and helps create more opportunities for people in the disability community to travel. In this session hosted by Airbnb, panelists will share their personal experiences and provide insights and strategies to maximize the rental experience of both hosts and guests.
Tools for Business Growth
Square revolutionized payments in 2009 with Square Reader, making it possible for anyone to accept card payments using a smartphone or tablet. Since then, Square has continued to expand its products and services, allowing entrepreneurs to reach customers 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.
Negotiation Skills for Entrepreneurs
Being an effective negotiator is a key business skill. Be it negotiating fees with clients, developing partnerships or working with vendors, creating win-win outcomes are crucial for business success. This interactive session will explore best practices including how to build trust and consensus, creating a suitable environment for negotiations and developing strategies to effectively “get to yes”.
Benefit B Corporations
Balancing Profit with Purpose
From taxes to governance, the business structure that a small business owner chooses has a huge impact on its operations. One less well known option is becoming a Benefits or B Corporation. B Corps include Ben and Jerrys, Bombas and Patagonia and all combine profit with purpose, prioritizing social and environmental impact alongside the bottom line. This session will highlight what it takes to become a B Corp and potential benefits and challenges, as well as hearing from B Corp disability owned businesses.
Day 2 Sessions
Day 2 Plenary
Accessing Capital to Grow Your Business
Accessing capital can be crucial for business growth yet navigating the diverse array of potential funding sources can be daunting. This session will provide insights into the different types of capital available, and a panel of disability owned businesses will share their experiences of accessing capital and the impact this has had on the sustainability and expansion of their business.
Connecting Disabled Entrepreneurs with the Resources and Access to Capital they Need to Thrive
The Founder and CEO overseeing the leading startup accelerator for Disabled Entrepreneurs will share guidance and key takeaways from 10 years of work with early stage, high growth tech startup founders with disabilities. Major touchpoints will include prioritizing company budgets for accommodations; fostering cultures of networking, mentorship and asking questions; and, crucially, increasing opportunities for Founders with Disabilities to engage with potential investors and access startup capital. People with disabilities have the potential to be the movers and shakers of industry and innovation – especially with equitable resources.
Obtaining Disability-Owned Business Enterprise (DOBE) Certification
As corporations and government agencies increasingly seek to diversify their supply chains, obtaining Disability-Owned Business Enterprise (DOBE) certification can provide greater opportunities to develop relationships with key corporate decision makers and to gain new contracts. This session will highlight DOBE business owners who will share their perspectives on the value of the DOBE certification, what is takes to become DOBE certified and how to maximize the opportunities it provides.
Creating an Accessible Marketplace for Entrepreneurs with Disabilities
For new entrepreneurs, marketplaces play an essential role in establishing a customer base, but getting products and services noticed on the established marketplaces is increasingly difficult and expensive. Synergies Works is tackling these challenges through the launch of its Synergies Market. This presentation will highlight how the Market will enable entrepreneurs with disabilities to increase their sales and connect with consumers as well as providing practical advice on marketing principles.
Entrepreneurship, Disability, and CDFIs
Accessing capital can be essential for business growth, yet many founders with disabilities report experiencing significant barriers. Many are unaware of one potential option, namely Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). This session will provide an overview of CDFIs and what they can offer as well as hearing from Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) who have found innovative ways to support disability owned businesses.
The Positive Psychology of Goal Setting
Starting and running a business can feel overwhelming with so many tasks that need to be completed, and it is easy to procrastinate or start but not finish activities. One way to overcome these challenges is by setting purposeful goals, using positive psychology principles. This interactive session will demonstrate the importance of goal setting on future actions and mental wellbeing as well as providing practical goal setting tools and techniques.
Finding Joy in Your Start Up in Turbulent Times
In a world filled with uncertainty, how do you maintain joy and resilience in your start-up journey? This session dives into the transformative power of mindset, the magic of authentic leadership, and the essentials of nourishing your entrepreneurial spirit, even in turbulent times.
Day 3 Sessions
Exceptional Leadership Starts with You
Keynote session by Mai Ling Chan, MS, CCC-SLP Executive Consultant, CEO and Cofounder, Exceptional Lab
Plenary – Accessing Capital in Creative Ways
For many new start-ups obtaining conventional loans can be a non-starter and yet accessing capital can be key to growth. One alternative but little known source of financing is debt-based crowdfunding which enables businesses to sell bonds to customers and community members. This presentation will explore key aspects of this revolutionary funding model from both the business owners and investors’ perspectives and will enable participants to determine when accessing capital this way could be most advantageous for their business.
Bootstrapping Your Way to Success:
Building an App on a Budget
Many aspiring entrepreneurs believe that building a successful App is only possible with significant capital. However, this interactive session will highlight practical steps to develop and launch a markable App without breaking the bank.
Discover FREE Resources and GROW your Business
Through Verizon Small Business Digital Ready (VSBDR)
Learn about Verizon Small Business Digital Ready – a free online program providing courses, coaching opportunities, networking events, and grant opportunities to support small business success. Additionally, a panel of entrepreneurs with disabilities will share their experiences of VSBDR and how it has helped them in their business journeys.
The Art of Pitching:
Learn How to Stop Worrying and Love PowerPoint
Knowing how to pitch is a crucial skill for any founder, yet it often remains a mystery. In this session we’ll use key insights from psychology, neuroscience, and design to help you demystify marketing, identify your pitch goal, and connect with your audience. Through this entertaining presentation, we’ll demonstrate how to craft a compelling narrative, manage your audience’s attention, and command any stage with confidence. Finally, we’ll wrap up with design tips and tricks to affect emotions, enhance memory retention, and ultimately construct your own perfect pitch.
Fundamentals of Starting a Business:
From Idea to Reality
Join us for a lively webinar where we’ll guide you through the essential steps to turn your business concept into a thriving reality. You’ll discover how to choose a memorable business name, navigate state registration with ease, leverage an Employer Identification Number (EIN), establish a secure business bank account, and ensure you stay on course while meeting your yearly commitments. But that’s not all! We’ll also delve into the three fundamental principles you need for your business plan and provide valuable tips to kickstart your marketing strategy. Join us to supercharge your startup journey!
Closing Plenary – Lessons Learned:
Insights into Starting and Growing a Small Business
Entrepreneurs with disabilities will share their experiences in building and growing their businesses. They will describe the challenges they experienced and share their strategies for success.