Celebrate Autism

Celebrate Autism: Supported Entrepreneur Program

Phoenix
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Celebrate Autism is a nonprofit organization that empowers young adults with disabilities through education and training to help them build fulfilling and positive futures. Our Supported Entrepreneur Program provides a high-quality entrepreneur curriculum customized for this population.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

people with disabilities, specifically those with autism, were not defined by their disability but instead were recognized for their amazing capabilities.
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The autism diagnosis rate is staggering with current estimates at 1 in 50 children. Today, 82% of adults with autism are unemployed. Within the next 10 years 500,000 individuals with autism will turn 18 with very few opportunities for success available to them. While these individuals have many specific talents, unfortunately they have a difficult time fitting into most employment environments.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We believe that entrepreneurship is the answer for the unemployment crisis among the disabled population. Celebrate Autism provides a unique program for individuals with autism and their families to create opportunities for success. Our subscription-based Supported Entrepreneur Program teaches lasting skills for business development and independence. Our four-step individualized program includes assessment, training, businesses promotion and ongoing support. This program allows those with disabilities to build on their strengths and interests, to help them build and develop sustainable microenterprises.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Teaching Supported Entrepreneurship has made large impacts on the lives of individuals with disabilities. Not only does our program help develop opportunities for sustainable microenterprises but entrepreneurship training also encourages self-advocacy, personal responsibility, creativity and problem solving skills.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Thus far, we have worked with over 20 young adults on the autism spectrum to help them start and build their own businesses through our pilot program. As we move forward, we expect to affect the lives of thousands. By launching our program online this fall we can teach individuals across the United States the skills they need to know to start their own businesses. We are currently partnered with 30 organizations, but by the end of 2016 we forsee partnerships with over 250 programs who will use our curriculum in their instruction as well as promote the development of entrepreneurs within their communities.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

As our organization grows, so will our impact. We forsee Celebrate Autism having a large influence on the disability community nationally and internationally. Our growth strategy includes adding more partner programs who will use our Supported Entrepreneur curriculum, as well as expanding our offerings as an organization to include a life skills track and an employment skills track. We intend to put on conferences and events showcasing entrepreneurs with disabilities and to create a large community that promotes independence, quality of life and fulfillment of those with disabilities.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Our program will be financially self sustaining by charging a montly subscription fee to access the training. We plan to charge between $15-20 per month to allow our customers full access to our curriculum, resources and community.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Other institutions that are encouraging entrepreneurship among those with disabilities include The Marino School, LTO Ventures and the SARRC Rising Entrepreneur Program. But while these institutions are teaching valuable entrepreneur skills, they are only accessible to the lucky few who live in the areas where they are located. Since Celebrate Autism is an online platform, people are able to access our curriculum and our community no matter where they live.
Team

Founding Story

As the younger sister to a young man with autism, his diagnosis has always been a part of my life. Even though there were many obstacles that came with his diagnosis, the most difficult time occurred after Brent graduated from high school. While he tried every opportunity available to him, the string of failures hurt his self-esteem. After my mother, an entrepreneur, helped Brent write his own book about growing up with autism, I watched him transform into a confident and happy person. Today, he travels the country speaking at conferences and events sharing his story. He is an inspiration; not only to me, but also to the thousands of people he meets along his journey. Watching Brent's journey is what inspired me to start Celebrate Autism.

Team

Currently, our organization is comprised of 1 full time staff member, a board of directors and an advisory board. Board of Directors: Linda Gund Anderson, Co-Founder & President of Gund Publishing Kate Fritz, Attorney at Miller & Law Liz Clark, Counselor at Denver Academy Philippe Ernewein, Director of Education at Denver Academy Scott Kaufmann, Principal at Lucid Agency
About You
About You
First Name

Jenny

Last Name

Anderson

About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Project
Organization Country

United States, AZ, Phoenix

Country where this project is creating social impact

United States

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Individuals, Foundations, NGOs, Customers.

Supplemental
Sector

Inclusive Business.

Audience: Who have you identified as your customer/recipient groups and do these groups value your solution for different reasons? How do you engage different customer/recipient groups to deliver your solution?

Our customers are young adults with disabilities, their family members and programs that provide services to those with disabilities. Each customer gains different value from our program; those with disabilities receive the opportunities and education to build a successful future, their family members are able to help encourage growth and independence for their family members with disabilities, and the programs have a valuable curriculum to teach to their clients.

Scaling the solution: How would the prize money and publicity help you to achieve your objectives over the next two years?

Over the next two years our project is projected to have a great amount of growth. We are currently in the startup phase, building our curriculum and teaching our first students. Our goal is to provide services for thousands of young adults in need and to change the conversation about what those with disabilities are able to do. This funding and publicity would allow us to showcase the success stories of supported entrepreneurs, expand our curriculum to teach life skills and employment and build a large database of support for young adults with disabilities.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered

My experience working closely with my family to build a sustainable enterprise for my brother Brent has been an invaluable experience that has greatly influenced my ability to create more opportunities for those with developmental disabilites. Additionally, my time working in event management, fundraising and education gives me the skills I need to build a well developed program for these young adults.

Are you are eligible to attend the Accelerator event in Cambridge and subsequent events in London, UK in January, 2015?

yes

Will you require a visa to enter the UK?

Are you are a current Unilever employee?

Comments

Müller NANDOU TENKEU's picture

Good project Jenny i wish you all the best in the competition