Now Streaming: 'Born for Business' Shines the Spotlight on Disabled Entrepreneurs

Disability nonprofit RespectAbility shares free toolkit on starting a business

Born for Business

A powerful docuseries that spotlights the untold stories of four entrepreneurs with disabilities, Born for Business gives viewers an insider's look at what it takes to launch and run a thriving small business. Just as each entrepreneur is on the brink of success, they must navigate the complications that the COVID-19 pandemic presents.

The series features four talented disabled entrepreneurs:

  • Qiana Allen is a fashionista with lupus who creates clothing for women with curves.
  • Collette Divitto is a baker with Down syndrome who owns a cookie brand on a mission to create change.
  • Chris Triebes is a driven single dad with spinal muscular atrophy (type III) making waves in the music industry.
  • Lexi Zanghi is a millennial entrepreneur with anxiety who runs a fashion-forward brand.

"For too long, people with disabilities have been shut out of the workplace," said Jonathan Murray, Bunim/Murray Productions. "With Born for Business, we are showing how people with disabilities have long been using entrepreneurship to create an economic livelihood for themselves."

People with disabilities, who often face stigmas when looking for employment, are creating their own opportunities and success across the world. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with disabilities are self-employed at a rate nearly twice that of their nondisabled peers.

As of the 2019 American Community Survey, approximately 700,000 workers with disabilities in the United States were self-employed, enjoying the flexibility and opportunities that entrepreneurship provides.

Studies show that approximately 70% of people with disabilities want to work. Thousands could become entrepreneurs if they can develop their skills and access capital. There are many free resources, compiled by the disability nonprofit RespectAbility, to help people with disabilities and others start their own businesses.

Born for Business creates a paradigm shift for people with disabilities because it is authentic and shows what people with disabilities CAN achieve. At the same time, it does not sugar coat it. It shows stories of resilience and innovation that will have universal appeal as they are perfectly timed for a moment when people are struggling to get past the challenges of this time.

"We're creating a world where entrepreneurship is accessible for everyone," said Harley Finkelstein, President, Shopify. "We are elevating these untold stories of entrepreneurship to show the power of entrepreneurship to make dreams a reality."

Chris Triebes of The Congregation Presents is a single father with spinal muscular atrophy (type III) who is making waves in the music industry. He said he was interested in appearing on Born for Business due to the lack of representation of people with disabilities "who have a disproportionately low voice" in media, especially when it comes to portraying stories of proactive business owners making their own opportunities and succeeding. He laments the often-repeated tropes of pitied people with disabilities who are painted as helpless or unresourceful. "I want to help normalize disability," he said in conversation with RespectAbility. "I think I can be someone who's good for that." 

Born for Business is produced by Shopify Studios and Bunim/Murray Productions, the Emmy Award-winning creators of Born This Way. Tobi Lütke, Pam Silverstein, Gil Goldschein, Jonathan Murray, Julie Pizzi, Erica Ross, Jonathan Stern, and Laura Korkoian serve as executive producers and Jacob Lane and Millee Taggart-Ratcliffe serve as co-executive producers.

All 10 episodes are streaming on Peacock (USA) and CRAVE (Canada).

Media Contact:
Lauren Appelbaum

Source: RespectAbility

About RespectAbility

RespectAbility is a nonpartisan nonprofit working with entertainment leaders, policy makers, educators, self-advocates, nonprofits, employers, philanthropists and journalists to fight stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities.

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