The power of cooperation for small businesses
Working Order’s mission is to support employment opportunities for people with disabilities through entrepreneurship and community partnerships.
Working Order’s vision is to use the power of cooperation to create a fully integrated, diverse working community.
At Working Order we realize the need for individuals to grow. Personal and professional growth are given high priority for the participants that are involved in our program. Starting a business can help someone to grow in both of these ways. As the participants and their business’s grow so will the organization. This will allow us to eventually realize our vision. The staff and board of directors are dedicated to both the mission and vision of the agency.
WHAT WE DO
Working Order is a nonprofit small business incubator serving a diverse group of entrepreneurs specifically targeting those with disabilities. Business coaching is provided to help participants develop a business concept, test it for feasibility, develop a long-range plan, market, manage and sustain the business. Shared resources such as office space, computers, Internet access, meeting rooms, and marketing services are also available.
WHY WE DO IT
Unemployment still hovers around 70% for Americans with Disabilities. Self-employment is a viable alternative for some people with disabilities who have not been able to find traditional employment or who do not choose to work in sheltered employment. Entrepreneurship can be a long-term employment option, or a bridge to more traditional employment.
Entrepreneurship allows the individual to match his or her skills and interests to the demands of the market. The wide range of people we serve creates a diverse, vibrant work community with opportunity for growth and learning. Working Order is the only small business incubator in the country designed to support entrepreneurs with and without disabilities in a fully integrated setting.
HOW IT STARTED
Working Order was founded in 1996 by a group of volunteers who were looking for alternative solutions to the problem of unemployment faced by many people with disabilities. The first site opened in Sharpsburg, PA in 1996. In October of 2001, the second site opened in downtown Pittsburgh. In July of 2002 we completed the first training for other programs around the country that want to adapt this model to their own communities. Currently 17 individuals are actively running or exploring a business with Working Order’s support.