Challenge Community Services' self-employment program for young people with intellectual disability is coming soon to Tamworth and the greater New England area.

The Regional Entrepreneurship Challenge (REC) is a 12 month course which seeks to establish new forms of employment options according to strengths, interests and abilities of the young people involved.

One of the key aspects of the initiative is that every participant in the program will be mentored by someone that has a successful business, and also a disability.

Project coordinator Beth Innes said the program is "about looking at what people with disability can do, rather than what they can't do.”

"There is a lot of discrimination in employment for people with disability, and for people with intellectual disability the rates are even higher," she said.

"We really look to capitalise on what skills people with disability have that other people may not - when you live with a disability you have to develop different skills."

The program has already successfully launched in Newcastle, and includes projects such as Michael Peard's mobile car detailing business, or Jonathan Bridge's accessible board games business.

Mr Bridge hopes to have his gaming club funded as a service through the NDIS.

"This is what I want to give to the world," he said. "It's too early to know if it's going anywhere but I am trying."

The goal is for each participant to establish a microbusiness or undertake gig economy opportunities. This will be driven by the young person who will be supported with training on safety, disability rights, consumer rights, business skills, communication and social media.

"We really want young people that are keen to start a business, or are keen to be self-sufficient to get involved," she said.

"It doesn't matter whether you already have an idea for a business or not - we look at the market, and look at ideas and really test what is needed and how it can work."

The Tamworth program was recently granted $70,722 from the federal government's Economic Participation of People with Disability grants.

Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said the program "will further help people with disability realise their ambitions of increased participation in the community through securing a job."

For Tamworth program enquiries please call 02 4918 1444 or email disabilityservices@challengecommunity.org.au

Original article by Chris Bath, Northern Daily Leader September 1, 2019