Helping People with Psychiatric Disabilities Start and Develop Consumer-Run Businesses

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Summary

Starting a consumer-run entrepreneurial business is challenging and can be very rewarding for the individuals involved. Joining the entrepreneurial business community is yet another approach to genuine community integration—the focus is on creating a productive business and jobs in the community. Planning is the key to success. Planning needs to include clarification of the business’s mission, financial planning, product/service marketing, assessment of management style and employee development, and support policies. A consumer-run entrepreneurial business, like any peer-run organization, needs to be concerned with issues of power, authority, and responsibility in the organization and the relationships between individuals and the group as a whole. Practitioners who provide services to people with psychiatric disabilities can work creatively during the business planning process by facilitating access to planning resources and heightening awareness of the kinds of questions that will be important to developing a successful business.