News Release Archive

Spencer Bevan-John knows first-hand the merits of self-employment
for people with disabilities.

The publisher of the non-profit Ability Network Magazine is not
kidding when he says production of the publication is done

"I have two rooms set up as office space. I'm not restricted in
the way I would be if I was faced with the problems of going to
and from work, like in the's not always the easiest
thing travelling around in a wheelchair."

As changes in the economy continue to eliminate many
traditional jobs, Bevan-John wants to encourage his colleagues to
consider self-employment and entrepreneurship as a viable or
practical supplement to low paying, part-time positions.

Thanks to assistance provided through the entrepreneurship
program of the Canada-Nova Scotia COOPERATION Agreement,
Ability Network Publishing Inc. has launched the Entrepreneurship
Awareness and Promotion Project for Persons with Disabilities
to spread the word.

The project has allowed the organization to initiate a number
of activities, promoting entrepreneurship among people with
disabilities. Regular readers of the Ability Network will have
already noticed the magazine's increased commitment to related
articles and profiles.

Internet users have probably checked out the LISTSERV for
entrepreneurs with disabilities. Now the organization is laying
the groundwork for what may be its most important initiative:
the establishment of an association for entrepreneurs with

Bevan-John says the association will provide members with an
unprecedented opportunity to talk and network.

"Other groups, like the Atlantic Association of Women Business
Owners, have demonstrated there are definite benefits that come
from networking. Also, I think there are various services we
could access in the same way," he said. "Other groups have
arranged workshops and other events for their membership. If
members express a need for that, then certainly we can
facilitate workshops and other information sessions that would
be useful."

The association will also address the concern expressed by
entrepreneurs with disabilities over the lack of a level
playing field in business.

"For persons with disabilities there are often more kinds of
additional costs to doing business...I would see the
organization probably being  a very effective lobby group to try
to bring about changes in policy."

Bevan-John is optimistic that this project will encourage more
people with disabilities to start their own businesses and
advance the interests of entrepreneurs with disabilities,
particularly through the association.

"What this will mean is that they can speak for themselves and
I think that's always important. Even people with the best
intentions in the world who act on behalf of other people are
not going to do nearly as good a job as if the people themselves
have a voice and input into everything."

The entrepreneurship program of the Economic Diversification
COOPERATION Agreement supports entrepreneurial education and
promotes awareness of entrepreneurial development in Nova
Scotia by partnering with organizations such as regional
development authorities, chambers of commerce, school boards
and non-profit agencies. The program supports entrepreneurship
as a career and employment option.


Contact: Linda Laffin    902-424-6810

trp                        Oct. 20, 1995