West Virginia State Policies & Resources
West Virginia Department of Commerce
West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS)
Policy Summary on Self-Employment:
The primary role of DRS for an individual interested in pursuing self-employment is to provide support and information throughout the assessment, planning and implementation process. This includes assistance with accessing community resources. It is not the intent of DRS to be the sole funder of self-employment enterprises.
Assessment of the client’s potential for success is the most crucial phase of the client’s and Counselor’s joint effort toward the goal of self-employment. Assessments are conducted prior to IPE development and include:
1. Vocational Goal Assessment: The Counselor assesses the client to determine if the employment outcome is consistent with the individual’s strengths, resources, priorities, abilities, capabilities, and interests and ensures that the individual makes an informed choice about pursuing self-employment. As part of this assessment, the Counselor consults with the District Employment Specialist to determine if the business venture is reasonable based on the local labor market. This assessment must be completed prior to any referrals made to outside consultants (e.g., SCORE) that provide self-employment training and education.
2. Feasibility Study: The client completes a feasibility study to demonstrate the viability of the business venture. Feasibility studies must include a description of the business idea, documentation of the individual’s management skills and technical skills, and/or work experience related to the self-employment venture, and market research. The Counselor reviews the feasibility study using DRS’s Self-Employment Counselor Review Form.
3. Personal Credit History: Clients must have a credit score of 600 for the feasibility study to be forwarded to the local business consultant for review and recommendations.
If the feasibility study is approved, the client must develop a Business Plan that includes the following sections: an executive summary, a description of the product or services, an assessment of the market, a description of the known competitors, a marketing plan, production costs, list of individuals to be involved along with their credentials and experience, and financial information.
The client and Counselor then make an in-person presentation to the District Placement Team. Final approved of the Plan is made by the Assistance Director, Field Services. Once this level of approval is granted, the IPE is developed.
DRS funding is intended to be used for startup costs and cannot be used for ongoing business operations. Supported self-employment is not referenced in the self-employment policy.
The following downloadable PDF contains statewide self-employment resources and links for people with disabilities.