Inclusion for business resilience


Result CIC’s Jane Cordell reports on a meeting we participated in between inclusive entrepreneurs and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Disability, Dr Lisa Cameron, MP.

Innovation and being an entrepreneur. They go together. It’s obvious.

What may be less obvious is how having to handle real-life challenges and changes can mean we get good at innovating.

One group in society that faces such challenges every day of their lives is disabled people. Result CIC is led by two disabled directors, me and Hormoz, who, with our associates, have used our lived experience to deliver significant work with disabled people and on the issues around disability. 

A key message in our work with other disabled people is that our disabilities, and our management of them, mean that we develop additional skills and qualities. Yes, there are major barriers in society, but we need to understand that skills we acquire when negotiating those barriers, such as problem-solving, resilience, imagination and ingenuity, are all valuable. And if we are good at innovation then we may well also have the potential to start and sustain a business.

One disabled woman who understands this at a personal and professional level is Jacqueline Winstanley. She was at the height of her career in 2007 when she became disabled and lost her job as a result. Jacqueline quickly realised that her experience was common among people, especially those with non-visible and fluctuating health conditions or disabilities. Drawing on her roots as an entrepreneur, she set up Universal Inclusion to promote access to all businesses and services and as a support group to help promote real, sustainable opportunities for disabled people. 

In 2013 Jacqueline created The Inclusive Entrepreneur network to bring together people from diverse backgrounds who have successfully developed their own businesses.  Jacqueline describes the purpose of the network as enabling ‘working collaboratively within a platform that celebrates excellence, difference and business growth.’

Photo: Jacqueline Winstanley

I first met Jacqueline at Parliament during an event sharing information with MPs about employment and disability. I was delighted to be able to join a recent online meeting of The Inclusive Entrepreneur network with Dr Lisa Cameron, MP. Dr Cameron is Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Disability. The meeting was supported by the influential Pink Shoe Club of women entrepreneurs with strong links to Parliament. The Club is dedicated to promoting women’s lifelong development and access to employment, leadership and enterprise roles. 

At the meeting Lisa Cameron explained she was in listening mode and keen to learn about the participants’ experience and how she could support inclusive entrepreneurs in future. Participants such as musician, James Holt, and equality advocate, Aba Graham, described how they came to develop their businesses. I outlined Result CIC’s work over 8 years, including our recent inclusion fund-supported project providing free coaching for frontline workers during the Covid-19 crisis.

Jacqueline Winstanley presented a set of recommendations. She pointed out some of the anomalies which had occurred for disabled entrepreneurs in the UK since lockdown, explaining how these could hold back the sector and potentially destroy sections of it. She also set out some recommended measures to create a fair environment in which they could survive and develop.

One of the recommendations sought to recognise the unique contribution which inclusive entrepreneurs can make to society. It proposes to create a new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Inclusive Entrepreneurship. The group was delighted that this new proposal was welcomed in principle by Dr Cameron.

Result CIC is ‘confidently different’ and works with people who feel excluded to become more confident and fulfil their potential. Our vision is of a society where everyone can contribute positively and become positive role models for others in future. Our values are well aligned with The Inclusive Entrepreneur so we are delighted to now be joining the network. It has never been more important to remain connected and share ideas! 


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