Paralympic Spirit: Disabled Entrepreneurs Launch Business Network
Eight disability entrepreneurs have come together to launch a business network group hoping to boost their position in a tough market and offer their customers the benefits of greater openness and innovative problem-solving products and services.
The network is bringing together six people with Spinal Cord Injuries, a wife of a spinal cord injured man, and two friends who wanted to share their passion for outdoor adventure with a friend with a disability. In the group are eight disability companies. They offer many products and services including the innovative one-arm wheelchair drive, wheelchair jeans, gripping aids for people with limited dexterity, specialist disability counselling and active rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injuries.
“Being disabled makes running a business much harder. By joining together we are finding ways to overcome many problems so we can achieve more. We push hard to create practical changes. It works because we are user-led. Our products and services come from personal experiences of disability and have won many awards,” says Steve Dent, 36, MD of Spokz – a tetraplegic since a freak accident aged 10, when a knitting needle went into his neck.
Disability is a big topic right now and there is so much negativity surrounding it. We are told that the UK needs more entrepreneurs. And here are eight young businesses which have all set up during the recession, all with personal experience of disability set on making a difference.
“This year has such exciting lead stories with the Jubilee, Olympics and Paralympics. The message seems to be that more can be achieved together; that hard work and integrity get results which make people proud,” says Mark Owen at Nomad Wheelchairs, who broke his neck in a motorbike accident.
“I’m massively excited about this,” says Guy Harris, 37, who was paralysed from the waist down after being hit by a lorry in 2003. He set up DisabledGear .com, a free online service for buying and selling second hand disability equipment when he realised the cost of equipment prevented many people from living reasonable lives. “2012 is full of opportunity: having the support of others in a similar position allows me to do more for my website users and customers. And I’ve been picked to be a Paralympic Torch Bearer!”
As Paralympian Tanni Grey Thompson said on twitter recently “Need disabled people to run services. They would know more about it!”
The team at Trabasack are extremely proud to announce their involvement and membership of the brand new Kandu Group. A brand new group created by eight like-minded organisations, Kandu group is a completely original and new type of trade association which has been set up to promote ethical, moral and friendly principles in business, particularly in the care and mobility sectors.
KanduGroup exists to change the “Grey haired men in Polo shirts” approach to healthcare business. As a group comprised of disabled entrepreneurs, Kandu group endeavours to put value and peer recommendation before profit chasing and clinical or stigmatising business practice. Many of the members have their own unpleasant experiences of healthcare purchases, services and attitudes.The group has a desire to bring people with disabilities to the forefront of services and business in the healthcare sector.
KanduGroup represents real people not big corporations and career climbers with little personal connection or understanding of the people behind the disabilities they are attempting to serve. Kandu Group sees things differently and this is why Trabasack are so proud to be involved. With personal and user perspective on the industry, all organisations involved are committed to ensuring people who are at vulnerable stages of their lives are not coerced into buying things they don’t need.
Kandu Group is Different
Members of the Kandu Group understand the difficulty in coming to terms with a new disability or illness and understand the feelings of denial and adjustment that are sometimes involved. With this in mind, customers can have complete trust in this new organisation, who are working towards ethical and reputable goals, and maintaining a group reputation. Kandugroup members genuinely want to provide you with good products and services that can genuinely improve the quality of your life.
In addition to this aim, the group are also keen to highlight their enthusiasm for startup enterprise and micro business, although of course they have big plans to grow. The eight members currently involved in the venture believe there may be scope for expansion in a years time when a decision will be taken on opening the group to other members.
Big vs Small
Micro businesses are often ignored and neglected by Government schemes that focus on the 5% of business with over 15 employees or those that are interested in fast growth and profits rather than steady growth and quality service. Small companies all understand the difficulties of competing against the larger corporations with who have scale and shareholder capital on their side. KanduGroup hopes to work together to obtain bulk discounts, improve order processing, purchasing and negotiations, which is why clubbing together should lead to better deals for both the companies involved and their customers.
Trabasack and Kandu Group
Trabasack will be leading the social media side of the group communications. Trabasack entrepreneur Duncan Edwards has a key role in the group’s growth and the wider world’s awareness of their work. With strong links across the sector already, Duncan is in the perfect position to ensure the group reaches a diverse group of people. Alan Thomas, chairman of Ataxia South Wales said:
“I trust Duncan from Trabasack as he has an excellent product and gives top notch customer service. A recommendation from him is good enough for me to have a lot of faith in another company. I think the KanduGroup is a brilliant idea; I have already been very impressed by the guys from Mountain Trike. Duncan introduced them to me at Naidex and they have another very impressive product that helps a disabled person lead a fuller life. I think small companies, charities and services need to work together. Finding out about this group, where they all have strong reputations for good service, can only help disabled people get the things they need more easily. Businesses working together to help more people is a brilliant and logical idea.”
You can find out more about the group via their website: http://www.kandugroup.com/ or through chatting to Duncan via their Twitter http://www.twitter. com/kandugroup and Facebook www.facebook. com/kandugroup pages
The Organisations behind the Group
Kandu group comprises of the following companies:
Spokz People: http://www.spokzpeople.org.uk/
Mountain Trike: http://www.mountaintrike.co.uk/
Active Hands: http://www.activehands.co.uk/
Standing Start: http://www.standingstart.org/