Division Policy  2.10


Self-Employment Services


February 1, 2006


August 30, 2012


This policy will be reviewed and updated as needed.


Provide guidelines for the provision of self-employment services for DBS consumers.


FS 413; Rehabilitation Act of 1973, As Amended



Self-employment is an employment model in which the client owns, manages and operates a small business for profit, and is not considered to be an employee of another person, business, or organization.

Scope of Services

DBS may assist a client in establishing an independently operated business with the client owning at least 51% of the business.  Services are sponsored only one-time. Services may include the following:

  1. Training/education in the actual field of work;
  2. Referral and coordination with the Small Business Development Center or other local resource (community college, university, etc.) for basic business administration courses and counseling;
  3. Business consulting services;
  4. Licensing fees and other start-up costs;
  5. Financing required to leverage other small business loans for additional expenses including stock, supplies, and equipment;
  6. Personal computer equipment including adaptive technology; and
  7. Other start-up costs.

Prohibitions and Restrictions

DBS will not provide funding or be involved in assisting client plans for:

All other applicable State and Federal laws, policies and procedures must be followed, including state purchasing laws.

Basic Requirements

All individuals requesting DBS support in self-employment must complete a business plan, which contains the elements outlined in the DBS Business Plan Review Criteria and Checklist (Attachment I).

Each business plan must be submitted to the State Office for review and approval by the Bureau Chief of Client Services. 

All decisions to support or deny the request will be based on the recommendations of an outside small business consultant. All plans must be examined by at least one outside business consultant. DBS currently is utilizing SCORE. (SCORE.org)  as our outside business consultant.

It is recommended, but not required, that the individual be referred to the local Small Business Development Center or community college for training and/or assistance in writing the business plan. However it is recommended that the individual obtain business development courses offered by the Hadley School for the Blind.  Those courses are:

Funding of the Small Business

Primary funding of the business shall come from other public or private sources.  This can include “in-kind” contributions from the client and family.  It may include loans, venture capital, grants, or funds obtained from the Social Security Administrations “Plan to Achieve Self-Sufficiency” (PASS) program.”  DBS will not be the sole funder of a business.

DBS will provide capital for a small business when an approved IPE for self-employment indicates DBS financial support is necessary.  Funding should not exceed 80% of the total cost of establishment the business.  Financial assistance will generally be $5000, and will not typically exceed $15,000. Funding will not be provided in the form of cash.  If funds are provided directly to the client for purchase of business startup items, (examples; licenses, equipment, advertising, etc.) client must provide receipts to the counselor.  Counselor will enter a case note into the electronic file regarding receipt(s) and for what items as well as file the receipt(s) in the client’s hard copy file.

Factors to be taken into account in approving a request for more than $5000 include, but are not limited to:

  1. Whether the individual has a goal of achieving self-sufficiency;
  2. Whether funds received from DBS will leverage additional capital;
  3. The size of the business; and
  4. An assessment by the business plan review team that the business may yield substantial profit.

NOTE: Exceptions require prior approval from the Bureau Chief of Client   
Services/Business Enterprises. 

Signed by director Joyce Hildreth on 9/1/2012.

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DISCLAIMER: Links on the Florida Division of Blind Services (DBS) website that are directed toward websites outside the DBS, provide additional information that may be useful or interesting and are being provided consistent with the intended purpose of the DBS website. DBS cannot attest to the accuracy of information provided by non-DBS websites. Further, providing links to a non-DBS website does not constitute an endorsement by DBS, the Florida Department of Education or any of its employees, of the sponsors of the non-DBS website or of the information or products presented on the non-DBS website.