Wyoming State Policies
Wyoming Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Policy Summary on Self-Employment:
Wyoming’s DVR Business Enterprise Program (BEP) provides support, education and training for DVR clients interested in pursuing self-employment. To meet the criteria for self-employment, the individual must directly operate and earn income from the business. Additionally, all businesses must be for-profit and comply with all relevant state, federal, and local laws and regulations. To receive funding through the BEP, the individual must have been determined significantly disabled or most significantly disabled.
The individual is assisted by a DVR Small Business Consultant as well as his/her DVR Counselor. The DVR Small Business Consultant provides pre-start-up services, including services delivered prior to the development of the individual’s business plan. While funding is available for only those individuals who have a significantly disabled or most significantly disabled designation, technical assistance and consultation services from the DVR Small Business Consultant are available for any DVR client.
A non-technical business plan is required to minimally document that the individual is able to operate and maintain a business and has the skills and a supportive network to continue to operate a business, as well as that the business is generally a feasible venture. The business plan is not intended to be robust enough to apply for loans or attract investors. The business plan is approved by the DVR Small Business Consultant based on the startup costs; feasibility; availability of financial resources; and the individual’s ability to manage the business. Once approved, the DVR Small Business Consultant and the DVR Counselor work together to determine what assistance, training and other support is necessary for a successful business and document it in the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). They meet monthly for the first three months after the business plan is approved. Thereafter, the group decides the schedule of the meetings.
A major funding source for the BEP is through the Small Business Development Funds (SBDF). These funds can be used for start-up assistance and are available for a six-month period. Any extension must be approved by the DVR Small Business Consultant. SBDF are flexible by design and can be used to pay for different categories of items or support, each with their own funding limits. For example, funding for tools and equipment necessary for start-up is limited to $2,500, while assistance with initial advertising is limited to $500. These limits can be changed with approval. While there is no mention of the individual having to match any amounts, it is noted that financial assistance is available when funding from the individual, his or her family or other sources is not available.
Most approved business plans are referred to the Wyoming Women’s Business Center by the DVR Small Business Consultant to apply for a loan. If approved, the SDBF will cover the loan and no fees or interest payments are assessed.
Another funding source for BEP is the Worker’s Compensation Funding VR-Option. If an individual has been injured, DVR and the Wyoming Division of Workers’ Compensation work together to support the individual in the BEP through the VR option. The planning process is the same, however there is a DWC Claims Analyst now working with the individual and the DVR Counselor. A living stipend may be considered.
The case of the individual involved in the BEP is considered closed when the business is generating sufficient income to cover expenses; is following all necessary and relevant state, federal, and local rules and regulations; and the individual and DVR Counselor agree that services are no longer needed.
DVR provides supported self-employment if it is determined that the individual’s network is robust enough to sustain the business venture.