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    UsableNet sponsors NCDE Founders with Disabilities PitchFest

    by UsableNet

    UsableNet has announced its sponsorship of The Viscardi Center's first annual National Center for Disability Entrepreneurship (NCDE) PitchFest Competition on November 19th. 

    "We are proud to be a first-time sponsor and supporter of this fantastic initiative centered around disability entrepreneurship,  alongside our partner, The Viscardi Center," said Tanner Gers, Head of Partnerhips at UsableNet. 

    As part of UsableNet's sponsorship, participating companies in PitchFest's competition will receive free access to UsableNet's web accessibility testing platform, UsableNet AQA.

    UsableNet team members will also run a training session on best practices for start-ups to build a robust, company-wide digital accessibility program. 

    About the Event

    Virtual PitchFest Competition will be held on Thursday, November 19th in honor of National Entrepreneurship Month. 

    PitchFest features 10 founders with disabilities from Viscardi Center's National Center for Disability Entrepreneurship (NCDE).  

    Entrepreneurs from across the country will battle it out in front of a panel of exacting judges and compete for thousands of dollars in equity-free cash grants and special prizes.

    The event will feature Keynote Speaker, Arlan Hamilton, Founder of Backstage Capital. Viscardi Center President and CEO, John Kemp will also speak.

    The NCDE PitchFest Competition will feature a live, virtual, interactive audience. To save your spot and learn more, please visit: https://www.viscardicenter.org/ncde-pitchfest/

    Why PitchFest? 

    Said Chris Werely, Global Director at UsableNet, "We are thrilled to be involved with Pitchfest. The program aligns well with our digital accessibility mission and company focus on diversity."

    Workers with disabilities, a segment of the population that is historically underrepresented in the workplace, are underemployed, and unemployed at nearly twice the rate of the abled-bodied population. 

    In the Center for Talent Innovation’s “Disabilities and Inclusion” study from 2016 a full 30% of the professional workforce fits the current federal definition of having a disability — and the majority are keeping that status a secret. Only 39% of employees with disabilities disclosed their disability to their manager. Even fewer have disclosed to HR (21%). 

    Like in any demographic group, there’s plenty of desire in the disability community to create opportunities through entrepreneurship and building businesses. The desire and initiative may be even stronger in the disability community because, unfortunately, traditional employment opportunities for people with disabilities can be less than ideal.

    The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) an agency within the U.S. Department of Labor promotes self-employment and entrepreneurship among individuals with disabilities. 

    According to the US Department of Labor, "Self-employment has long been an option for individuals seeking a new or better career. And today, many individuals with disabilities are turning to the flexibility self-employment offers in assisting them to meet both professional and financial goals. Starting one's own business can offer similar flexibility, allowing people to make a living while maintaining a lot of latitude in choices such as work hours, nature of tasks, and income." 

    The NCDE PitchFest Competition offers a unique opportunity for its founders to elevate awareness of their businesses. 

    What is National ENtrEpreneur's Day? 

    In 2010 entrepreneur Siamak Taghaddos and David Hauser started a petition to create a National Entrepreneur’s Day. Six months and thousands of signatures later, President Obama proclaimed the last day of 2010’s National Entrepreneur Week as National Entrepreneur’s Day.

    Later, in 2012, President Barack Obama declared November as National Entrepreneurship Month.

    On October 30, 2020, President Trump issued his own proclamation on National Entrepreneurship Month, 2020. President Trump praised  American entrepreneurs for employing more than 60 million people nationwide and credited American entrepreneurs for being at "the heart of our ongoing efforts to defeat the coronavirus."

    About the Viscardi Center 

    The Viscardi Center is an internationally renowned, not-for-profit organization that provides a lifespan of programs and services that educate, employ and, empower children and adults with disabilities. The Viscardi Center is the host and producer of the Virtual PitchFest Competition on Thursday, November 19.

    To learn more, visit ViscardiCenter.org.

    About NCDE

    The National Center for Disability Entrepreneurship (NCDE) at The Viscardi Center is a strategic pathway to combat the many barriers which lead to widespread unemployment and underemployment within the disability community.

    NCDE, through its world-class program modules, trainers, and mentors, as well as a deep and unique understanding of people with disabilities, is an extraordinary resource that empowers its members to achieve self-employment success.

    To save your spot and learn more, please visit: https://www.viscardicenter.org/ncde-pitchfest/




    Founded in 2000, UsableNet created some of the first tools and platforms to make websites accessible and usable for all people. Starting out, we worked with government agencies as well as universities and corporations. Today, accessibility has become important to almost all companies. We provide accessibility solutions to Fortune 1000 companies, small and medium enterprises, government, and education organizations across industries including retail, travel, hospitality, food services, automotive, financial services, and healthcare.

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