Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)


Business Administration


John Hannon


In 2006, Congress appropriated $5 million to create a research-based policy and give technical assistance to agencies that achieved self-employment outcomes for entrepreneurs with disabilities (EWDs). A lack of information exists within the extant body of research on EWDs and the strategies they employ to develop successful businesses. The research design was a multiple case study format engaging 3 Michigan EWDs whose firms were profitable after at least 3 years of successful business operations. Tipu's conceptual framework of entrepreneurship was useful in understanding the basis for successful EWDs' strategies. Face-to-face interviews with EWDs and onsite observations of their business operations were the primary data collection methods used in the study. The data analysis procedure began with interview transcriptions and summaries of activities. Data coding led to the identification of recurring concepts and integration of topics from across sources to create a complete picture. The decision-making choices successful EWDs made depended on a solid product and market knowledge, the creation of financial and marketing relationships, and adherence to cost-based operational leadership. The findings may contribute to social change by empowering persons with disabilities to become entrepreneurs. Insights into the business strategies can lead to new programs that motivate individuals to become entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship benefits EWDs, their families, and their communities by facilitating independence and economic and social contributions.