AIB Support TUD Course Launched by Open Doors in 2021

At an Entrepreneur Showcase hosted by Open Doors, Professor Tom Cooney spoke about the positive feedback from participants in the first year of the course “Self Employment for People with Disabilities”: “Quite a lot of people said that the course helped develop their self-esteem, that they felt a whole lot more positive about themselves and their skill sets, that even if they don’t set up a business, they feel they are more employable again and they feel that they have a contribution to make to the labour market.”

The positive outlook from participants of the pilot year of the course is one reason AIB has stepped in to provide their support to run the course, so it can be free for all applicants. Denis Doolan from AIB spoke about why they got involved, “from an AIB perspective we're trying to pursue inclusion and diversity work that's action and not just words and support things that have real people involved and drive tangible impact on those individuals and the communities they're part of”.

The first of its kind in Ireland, the course addresses the barriers that people with disabilities face in starting their own business, an area that is highly under-resourced and often overlooked. The fully online course, developed last year with the help of the Open Doors Initiative and Pobal, will assist participants in evaluating their business idea, understanding the requirements of starting and maintaining a business and completing the course with a finished business plan. 

Niamh Malone, a student from 2021, has already made great strides towards her new business venture, securing funding from TU Dublin Hothouse, after developing her confidence and understanding of the processes involved: “Basically I pushed myself out there and I started talking to psychologists, which were kind of like daunting. I thought they'd say like you know you're you know you've no kind of knowledge, you have the background life experience but…they were actually very supportive and that once a particular psychologist in Galway and NUI said to me that and the people living with lifetime social anxiety disorder are the experts in this field so he said I would say that some of your coping strategies are actually original”.

Applications are now open for the course which will commence 21st September 2022, delivered through TU Dublin’s Continuing Professional Development programme. It is open to anyone who self-identifies as having a disability and wishes to start their own business, resident in the Republic of Ireland. 

For more details and to apply, click here.

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