The Rewards of Operating a Business

Employment & Community Options’ unique Microenterprise Program allows adults with intellectual disabilities to experience the ultimate rewards and responsibilities of operating a business. Offered through the Integrated Employment, Supported Employment or Tailored Day Services this successful entrepreneurial program provides work for individuals that more closely matches their needs, versus those of a prospective employer.

Participants play an active role in the business from decision making, to marketing, networking, and daily operations. Currently, four Microenterprise businesses are in operation in the San Diego Area and one in Santa Clara with expansion plans for other regions in California underway:

PSS logo-web onlyPoway Super Shredders: Provides secure document destruction and free pickup service for most areas in Poway and some surrounding areas.

Vending Express- logo web onlyVending Express: Provides vending machines to businesses in Poway and the surrounding area.

Jitter-Bean-LogoJitter Bean: Two coffee cart businesses are operating in Kearny Mesa and the San Diego Botanic Garden.

SnackShackLogo_FINALSnack Shack: Provides vending machines to businesses in Santa Clara and San Jose areas.

Why This Program is Essential

Adults with various disabilities face chronic unemployment (60-70%) and the current economic landscape in California creates even more challenges for such individuals.

Offering Microenterprise employment options to participants and small groups when traditional job placement with an employer isn’t an option gives participants the opportunity to work and control their own futures. These small business operators have the flexibility to adjust their schedules as needed to accommodate any fluctuations in their symptom cycles and physical needs.

How it Works

E&CO has developed a series of businesses to train and employ adults with developmental disabilities. Thus expanding the job and career opportunities offered to the participants we serve. Training is provided and individuals receive ongoing support from their Microenterprise Support Specialist and a dedicated business Advisory Board. Members of the Advisory Board include: The Regional Director, Program Manager, Microenterprise Support Specialist, the business participants and an outside community member.