For young people who are neurodivergent, says small business owner Ashley Deck, “it’s very hard for them to find employment that will focus on their ability over their disability.” Her Asheville-based store seeks to change that – or at least begin to dismantle the stigma that businesses that employ a neurodivergent workforce must be a nonprofit.
The inspiring story of Madame Clutterbuckets Neurodiverse Universe began with Deck’s belief that disability rights are basic human rights, not special rights. The retail store, which sells vintage and eclectic merchandise in downtown Asheville, NC, is staffed by adults with developmental disabilities. Christopher Murrey and the Mountain Bizworks team have supported this entrepreneur’s dream by providing access to the capital to start, grow, and thrive the business – not only because they believe in the mission, but because they also believe in the business plan.
That’s something Deck wants to make clear: neurodivergent-staffed businesses come in all shapes and forms, not just nonprofits. The neurodivergent workforce has the same rights to non-discrimination, inclusion, equality of opportunity, and full participation in society as any other person. As that workforce continues to grow, savvy employers will recognize the immense untapped potential that they have been missing out on!
“If you’re always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” – Maya Angelou
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