Why a community of practice?

A diverse group of people live for a disability.

A key feature of the platform, indeed one of the things of which we’re particularly proud, is that we aim to create, nurture and support a community of practice for disability entrepreneurship in Australia.  So a not unreasonable question we might be asked is, why a community of practice?

Commentary about other attempts to support disability entrepreneurship point to trepidation and anxiety by individuals without an existing business background or business qualification for establishing a small business (such as that reported by participants in the programme conducted by the University of Technology Sydney[1]).  It should be recognised the logistics and considerations associated with establishing and operating an endeavour can be disconcerting for a person without a business background.  This then becomes a reason not to attempt to do so.  Those concerns tend to screen out a significant component of the target audience.  Providing educational opportunities to participants in the platform will address the barriers identified by Vaziri, et al (2014).

We consider our intention to create, nurture and support a community of practice to be one of the strengths of the platform.

This is less than ideal and explains why earlier attempts to support self-employment in the disability space have not had a greater impact[2].

The rest of this section discusses the strategies the Enabled.vip platform will use to assist members overcome this uncertainty and support them to be successful with the establishment and operation of their endeavour.

Addressing trepidation

A community of practice should address the trepidation discussed at 03.0 and also increase the chances members are able to establish and operate successful revenue-generating endeavours.

The platform is based upon a couple of principles:

1)     There is useful information already about setting up and operating a small business, but it’s not always couched in language that is accessible, or that is obviously written for Australians who live with a disability.

2)     There are useful and inspiring examples and experience already in the space, which members would benefit from if they heard them.

3)     Useful learning experiences could be designed and provided to members with regards to essential business skills.

4)     Providing a supportive peer group and experienced businesspeople as mentors could assist individuals overcome any trepidation and become more confident in their efforts.

Succeeding together

Amongst the advantages of a community of practice is that it promotes members sharing their insights and successful strategies in a collegial manner to assist their peers to apply that knowledge to their own practice.

This should mean that the longer the platform is operating the more successful the members should be (as members share and benefit from successful strategies and useful ideas, there is a collective improvement in practice and better results).  This is also a way to help individuals avoid common missteps and traps.

[1] In 2019, Dr Gary Allen attended web event about the UTS disability entrepreneurship program and noted a number of disabled clients commented upon the apprehension they felt when first starting their endeavour.  This perhaps reflects the trepidation anyone might feel before embarking on a self-employed venture, compounded by the isolation, educational exclusion and lack of resources an Australian who lives with a disability probably faces compared to their able -bodied peers.

[2] This is a problem because a lack of confidence might result in a person not attempting to set up an endeavour, or giving up their attempt too easily.

The use of a community of practice approach will help address trepidation and strengthen the notion of succeeding together.

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A key feature of the platform, indeed one of the things of which we're particularly proud, is that we aim to create, nurture and support a community of practice for disability entrepreneurship in Australia.  So a not unreasonable question we might be asked is, why a community of practice? Commentary about other attempts to support disability entrepreneurship point to trepidation and anxiety by individuals without an existing business background or business qualification for establishing a small business (such as that reported by participants in the programme conducted by the University of Technology Sydney[1]).  It should be recognised the logistics and considerations associated with establishing and operating an endeavour can be disconcerting for a person without a business background.  This then becomes a reason not to attempt to do so.  Those concerns tend to screen out a significant component of the target audience.  Providing educational opportunities to participants in the platform will address the barriers identified by Vaziri, et al (2014). This is less than ideal and explains why earlier attempts to support self-employment in the disability space have not had a greater impact[2]. The rest of this section discusses the strategies the Enabled.vip platform will use to assist members overcome this uncertainty and support them to be successful with the establishment and operation of their endeavour...

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