NeuDICE, or in full, the Neurodivergent and Inclusive Community of Entrepreneurs, is fast becoming a solution to a serious problem, even before its launch on Monday 17th April, writes Ann Collis.
In short, we offer a new roll of the dice for people who are autistic, ADHD, otherwise neurodivergent or for whatever reason cannot fit into ‘business as usual’, either as employees or entrepreneurs.
The problem many of us face is that ‘business as usual’ – including business support as usual – just doesn’t connect with who we are, our lives, our ways of thinking and our ways of making things happen. As a result, 72% of Autistic adults are currently unemployed. They and other neurodivergent people are under-employed, unemployed or find it hard to hold down a job. We are often best suited to being our own boss, with highly creative and imaginative ideas for changing the world or solving a problem. And yet… Time and again we face barriers in turning those ideas into effective action.
NeuDICE is addressing this in three ways.
We are building a community, both virtual and face to face, of members who are themselves thinking of becoming their own boss or already doing it.
We are creating in real time mini research projects to find solutions to challenges we face in everyday life and business. We call it ‘scruffy research’, not because it isn’t high quality but because we focus on getting real world solutions into use more than making the research sound impressive. We call this the Living Lab.
For the third area, we get really practical. What needs to be in place for neurodivergent entrepreneurs to succeed? For most of us, its the right working space, access to the right information, the right kind of admin and coaching support, the sort of professional services that make sense to us, and business support services that are easy to use. Put simply, NeuDICE’s goal is to make sure all those things are in place as soon as possible for as many of us as possible. This might mean finding or training others or it might mean providing things ourselves. Watch this space!
At the moment, we are looking at two Wales launches later in 2023. One will be more formal for people who are comfortable in a more standard business environment and one will be an informal outdoors event (with suitable weather protection).
The ‘we’ who are co-founding NeuDICE are Anne Collis (Swansea), Stuart Watson (Plymouth) and Ed Fish (Northwest England). The idea started with Anne who was fortunate to secure an Ecwiti award. This Welsh Government funded programme has provided a small start-up financial award and, more importantly, access to specialist support from Social Firms Wales and UnLtd. We have also benefited hugely from the advice and support of Social Business Wales including one of their peer to peer mentors, Jeremy Rees Bowen and, more recently, from the Swansea Council economic development team. They say it takes a village to raise a child. It takes a community to raise a social enterprise. Sometimes it just takes time to find your community. If you haven’t found yours yet, feel free to come and check out ours.
For more information and to join the community, visit www.neudice.org