Delaware State Policies & Resources
Delaware Vocational Rehabilitation
Self-Employment Policy Summary:
Delaware Vocational Rehabilitation provides self-employment services to individuals with a vocational goal to develop and manage their own businesses. The Division may provide significant financial and technical support to consumers establishing or maintaining a small business consistent with agency policy. DVR does not support “hobby-type” businesses, and the DVR client must be the majority owner of the business (no less than 50%) to receive DVR self-employment services. DVR requires a structured and extensive assessment and planning process.
DVR self-employment policy allows individuals to begin a business or to expand a very small business activity into an actual self-employment venture. Additionally, individuals with established businesses may access support to maintain the bushiness. DVR Does not cover the purchase of franchises or existing businesses but may purchase other goods and services for those businesses once purchased by the individual using non-VR funds.
Delaware VR self-employment funding is limited to $10,000, not including the purchase of assistive technology or other goods and services required to reduce or ameliorate the impact of the individual’s disability. DVR cannot be the primary funding source for a business unless the client has obtained comparable benefits elsewhere for his / her business. Principal funding should come from other sources, which may include the individual, family members, bank loans, workers’ compensation or insurance settlements, Social Security work incentives, and other private or public sources. As part of business development, all individuals thoroughly explore and obtain non-DVR funding sources, share in the risk of starting a business, and ultimately assume the risk of owning a business.
The assessment phase for self-employment includes two major elements: readiness and feasibility. Readiness includes the determination whether the individual has the capabilities, knowledge, and preparation to become self-employed. Feasibility includes the determination whether the business that the individual wants to pursue is in keeping with the readiness and skills of the individual and is consistent with market forces. If the client does not already have training or skills in the industry, strong consideration should be given to assessment of the consumer’s potential for this field, to be followed, as appropriate, by skills training and at least two years of work experience before consideration of self-employment would be advised.
The business plan shall include – information about the business owner, summary and mission statement, selected industry, a list of company products and services, market research and analysis, a marketing plan, an operational plan, a management plan, and any related certifications, licenses, and requirements and also a financial plan and items required to stock up a business.
The IPE shall be modified to reflect a self-employment goal after the client has completed the entrepreneurial readiness checklist and has been determined to be suitable for self-employment by the VR counselors. The IPE will include all services needed to implement the
business plan including the feasibility phase and also the disability related items needed by the individual to implement the business plan.
Cases can be closed successfully when the business has been successfully operated for at least 180 days and has reached 75% of the income that the client has determined necessary for his or financial security. If closure has not occurred after 12 months, the individual and counselor meet to determine if the current income meets the individual’s needs or if the business is on a trajectory to reach the income the individual considers sufficient. If the business is not likely to reach a place where the income is sufficient the counselor and individual will develop a non-self-employment IPE for competitive, integrated employment that meet’s the individual’s needs.
DVI-VR (Department for the Visually Impaired – Vocational Rehabilitation)
Policy Summary on Self-Employment:
DVI-VR considers self-employment for DVI-VR customers when it is consistent with their strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests and informed choice, and may be a viable alternative to achieving a positive employment outcome. Self-employment includes, but is not limited to, telecommuting, establishment of a small business or any other form of employment where the consumer takes control.
Assistance from DVI-VR could include assisting the consumer to engage in telecommuting; establishing a small business or any other form of employment where the consumer takes control; providing technical assistance and other consultation services to conduct market analysis, or develop business plans; and otherwise provide resources, to the extent such resources are authorized to be provided through the statewide workforce investment system. There is no restriction on the type of “legal” activity or business in which consumers may want to engage. The counselor is responsible for following procedures referenced in the policy (16A.2).
Per 16A.2, during plan development, the counselor considers the consumer’s disability and assesses each of the following prior to developing an IPE for self-employment: the consumer’s business potential; the feasibility of the business plan and market analysis; the consumer’s education and/or training; the technical assistance and resources that may be available to create a business plan. The request to develop a business plan is not synonymous with approval. Assistance from external contractors and community resources is available to provide support with items listed above.
Business plan requirements include a description of the business, products, and services, sales and marketing plans, operating requirements, financial management and concluding narrative. The business plan should clearly outline the steps taken to ensure the feasibility of the concept. Business plans must be approved by the Director. After the Director’s approval the business plan is incorporated in the IPE.
DVI-VR should not be considered the total funding source of the self-employment venture. For any equipment or initial stocks over the cost of $10,000 DVI-VR requires written estimates from three potential vendors. There is no cap for self-employment funding listed in the policy at this time.
The following downloadable PDF contains statewide self-employment resources and links for people with disabilities.