Irish mental-wellness start-up Ailim Healing has developed an online programme that aims to reduce the anxiety of people with neurological conditions who suffer from social anxiety disorders.
The educational programme has a particular focus on empowering people who are experiencing the impact of emotional abuse by family members, friends, partners, or colleagues.
The programme incorporates a personalised blend of interactive webinars, workshops, animation, visual communications, videos, and ejournals.
Niamh Malone, founder of Ailim Healing, developed her business idea last year while participating in a new pilot entrepreneurship course for people with disabilities, co-founded by the Open Doors Initiative, sponsored by Pobal, and delivered by Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin).
Ms Malone has lived with social anxiety most of her life, and has a background in healthcare, having worked previously as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in stroke aftercare.
"Some years ago, I had a rare stroke that exasperated my Social Anxiety Disorder and I noticed that while there were a range of digital tools available to those experiencing a high level of stress or sleeplessness, there were no long-term specific online tools to overcome Social Anxiety Disorder or gaslighting," she said.
Thr customised entrepreneurship programme Ms Malone participated in addresses the additional challenges faced by people with disabilities when starting their own business.
"Self-employment helps people with disabilities to participate socially and economically; allows them to choose their own hours or work remotely, and provides more flexibility than can be found in paid employment," says Professor Tom Cooney, Professor of Entrepreneurship at Technological University Dublin who designed and delivers the programme:
"However, despite the benefits, there is limited awareness of self-employment as a career option for people with disabilities within their own community and within enterprise agencies and disability advocacy organisations," he continues.
The programme aims to provide participants with the skills and knowledge to become self-employed and help them overcome the challenges of creating their own job. Each participant also receives a business mentor through the Local Enterprise Office network.
Free for all successful applicants, applications are now open for this year's AIB & TU Dublin Entrepreneurship for People with Disabilities Programme.
It is open to anyone who self-identifies as having a disability and wishes to start their own business, resident in the Republic of Ireland.