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The Economy of Disability


Across the world an estimated 1.2 billion people live with a disability. That’s equivalent to the population of China.

In the UK alone, it is estimated that some seven million people of working age have a disability, which all adds up to a lot of spending power.

Latest figures from the UK’s Department of Work and Pensions estimate that this spending power is worth £249bn to the economy.

So what should businesses be doing to try to get a share of this money?

The BBC’s business and economics unit have looked at how businesses work with people with disabilities and how disabled people have made business work for them…

1. Challenge Stereotypes!

For every disabled person seen in the media climbing a mountain or completing a marathon in a wheel chair, there are dozens of people quietly getting on with running their own business. These people are rarely represented or recognised in the media.

2. Business Sense not Charity

By simply listening to and understanding the needs of disabled customers, a rich new revenue stream can be opened up.

Reflecting the customer base within the workforce brings empathy and understanding, and far from being a hindrance to a business, this diversity can be a strength. The whole idea is to show that with a little bit of adaptation and understanding, disabled people can and do add to the economy.

3. Disability Works

Disability is often the catalyst that enables people to start their own business as advances in access technology have taken away many of the physical barriers. Having said this, there’s still a lot to be done to take away the social ones too…

…read the full story here.


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