The Disability Entrepreneurship Institute at The Viscardi Center (which operated as a two-year pilot program as the National Center for Disability Entrepreneurship) is a strategic pathway to combat the many barriers which lead to widespread unemployment and underemployment within the disability community. Through its world-class program modules, trainers, and mentors, as well as a deep and unique understanding of people with disabilities, is an extraordinary resource that educates, transforms and empowers its members to achieve self-employment success.
The Viscardi Center
Founded by Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr., who wore prosthetic legs and possessed an entrepreneurial spirit, served as a disability advisor to eight U.S. Presidents and became one of the world’s leading advocates, The Viscardi Center established its entrepreneurship program as an extension of its mission to educate, employ and empower people with disabilities. Learn more about Dr. Viscardi, an entrepreneur himself, and the origin of The Viscardi Center.
This important effort builds upon the employment-related services for youth and adults with a wide variety of disabilities offered by The Viscardi Center. The Viscardi Center also assists businesses in diversifying their workforces and developing and advancing inclusive cultures in their workplaces on a national level. The Viscardi Center is a powerful, renowned hub of services, expertise and connections to support the next generation of entrepreneurs with disabilities.
Our Program Leadership
The program is led and guided by professionals from The Viscardi Center’s Executive Management team and an E-Advisory Council.
E-Advisory Council Members
- Erica Chase, Regional Director, Small Business Development Center
- Michael Gibbons, Expert Advisor & Angel Investor
- Carmen Daniel Jones, President & CEO, Solutions Marketing Group
- Jay Goldberg, Proprietor, Bergino Baseball Clubhouse
- Sharon Goldsmith, Senior Associate Dean for the Center of Entrepreneurship, HOFSTRA University
- Emily Ladau, Founder & Owner “Words I Wheel By”; Writer, Disability Advocate, Communications Consultant
- John Pellitteri, Partner, Grassi & Co.
- Phil Rugile, Innovation Consultant
- Michael Zacchea, Director and Founder, UConn’s Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Veterans