As many of you know, Blue Orb, parent company of orbiTouch Keyless Keyboard, in partner with Central Florida Disability Chamber of Commerce, was awarded a National Science Foundation Small Business Research grant designated to help persons with special needs become entrepreneurs. There has been a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for this program, and with that, come questions about eligibility requirements and program parameters. Here is a quick program overview and answers to frequently asked questions.
- The first goal of Project Mercury is to develop a curriculum to teach persons with disabilities to participate more fully in the process of being and becoming an entrepreneur. Service-disabled veterans fall within the scope of this project. Blue Orb, together with other organizations, will provide training, orientation, and an orbiTouch Keyless Keyboard as needed at no cost to the participating special needs individual.
- The second goal is to provide a research environment in which hypotheses on the cognitive and interpersonal communications of entrepreneurship on persons with disabilities will be tested.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have to be an American citizen?
Do you have to be over 18?
Are all disability types included?
Yes, all disability types identified by Americans with Disabilities Act are welcome to apply.
Do service-disabled veterans qualify?
Absolutely. We invite all service-disabled veterans qualified by the Department of Veterans Affairs to apply.
Where is program going to be held?
The majority of the program will be online. Participants in the local area will have the option to utilize Orlando VA Medical Center and Blue Orb’s Headquarters in Maitland, Florida, until the program can be scaled.
What does the curriculum look like?
Each participant will receive a custom syllabus created according to their strengths, interests, and needs. Besides providing information in an online classroom setting, the program is designed to plug disabled entrepreneurs into a network. Each participant will be assigned to a mentor who will guide them and introduce them to other mentors and contacts. One such group will be the Rollins College Venture Program, a group consisting of 44 available mentors.
When is the program going to start?
The applicant review process has already commenced, but the mentorship portion of this program is scheduled to begin first quarter of 2012.
What is the length of the program?
The research grant is based over a three year timespan, but the mentorship aspect will be ongoing as the participant requires.
Is this program solely educational, or is financial help offered as well?
The goal of this program is educational, but there is some financial compensation as well. Each applicant will receive assistive technology, such as orbiTouch, iPad, or iPod Touch, as determined by the program coordinators to aid them in their entrepreneurial ventures, as well as a small cash sum for expenses.
Will online tools be available in closed captioning?
We are currently working on including closed captioning to optimize user experience for participants who are deaf or hard of hearing.
How do I apply?
We are currently designing an application. In the meantime, all interested persons can email elizabeth@orbiTouch.com for more information.