Yesterday, the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council approved a proposal to create more entrepreneurship opportunities for people with disabilities. In a bipartisan vote, the Councillors unanimously approved the inclusion of the Disability Business Enterprise category to the city’s contracting program.
Under the new DBE, people with disabilities who own businesses will have the opportunity to join their counterparts – racial and ethnic minorities, women, and veterans – to participate in the process by which our local government has elected to diversify its contracts with vendors. As a result of this resolution, one percent of annual spending would be targeted to businesses owned by people with disabilities.
This action marks a tremendous step forward for people with disabilities, especially those who possess an entrepreneurial spirit. Unfortunately, many people with disabilities, including those who pursued college and graduate degrees, are chronically underemployed and unemployed. They struggle to earn a sustainable living. Some are forced to rely on public assistance.
I am thankful for the leadership of our city, particularly Council President Maggie Lewis, Vice-President John Barth, Mayor Ballard and his Chief of Staff Ryan Vaughn, the proposal’s sponsors, and supporters for their pluralistic approach to entrepreneurship. Once again, Indianapolis is a model for other cities to follow in making all aspects of life better for people with disabilities.