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“Seed Money” Project
It is the Government’s policy to promote and enhance employment opportunities for people with disabilities and help them integrate into mainstream employment market. It is recognized that an enterprise-driven approach (instead of a sheltered environment) serves the dual purpose of creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities and training up disabled persons with lower work ability for open employment.
In order to foster such development, a one-off provision of $50 million was announced in the 2001/02 Budget for the “Enhancing Employment of People with Disabilities through Small Enterprise Project” (“Seed Money”Project). Non-govermental organizations (NGOs) can apply for a maximum grant of $2 million for each business, which is offered in the form of a non-recurrent grant to support the initial capital expenditure and the first-year operation. The businesses should be self-sustaining in the long run and employing people with disabilities to fill no less than 60 per cent of its total posts on the payroll.
There are currently 31 such approved businesses operating in retail, catering, car cleaning, repair and maintenance, laundry, recycling, tele-survey service, mobile massage, travel and conference service, eco-tourism. As at June
2005, 396 posts were created (290 disabled and 106 able-bodied) by the 31 social enterprises in the Project. There are also other positive social outcome including building of social capital, increased self-esteem for the people with disabilities etc.