We’re a creative bunch of business professionals, sportsmen and sportswomen who’ve collectively come together to form DISPLACE; an innovative ‘work place’ community designed to empower individuals affected by physical disability to recognise and pursue their entrepreneurial selves for the greater good, form social connections and ultimately gain financial independence through the group development of independent social enterprises.
The concept was founded by a chap called Jon, a marketing sales professional who in 2006 was diagnosed with MS while studying his MBA and juggling full time work and a young family.
Like many diagnosed with a disease at the peak of their career, he spent several years in denial while hiding the disease from his employers for fear of career exclusion. Once his diagnosis became apparent, he noticed work opportunities deteriorate at a far greater rate than the disease itself, and employment increasingly difficult to secure.
It is difficult situation to comprehend given in addition to holding an MBA, a commerce degree and qualifications in adult tertiary training, Jon was also a commercial helicopter pilot and qualified instructor. This loss of opportunity was felt on many levels, more so when the disease began to affect his eyesight, making him colour blind and no longer able to revert back to commercial flying as an alternative career option.
Recognising disability exclusion was widespread, he went on a mission to see how he could make a difference. And, hence the concept of DISPLACE was born; a social ‘work place’ community where physical barriers are no longer a barricade. A place of belonging, beholding a ‘can do’ mantra where entrepreneurial ideas and friendships can freely flourish and where financial independence for those affected by a physical disability could become reality through the creation of new employment opportunities.
Luckily today, Jon remains relatively well and has dedicated his future to supporting others not as fortunate as himself. Together, supported by an innovative bunch of business people, sportsmen, sportswomen and the greater community, the DISPLACE concept is now reality.
DISPLACE is currently working towards building its first purpose-built place of its own; an innovative, social ‘work place’ where individuals affected by physical disability can recognise and pursue their entrepreneurial dreams for the greater good. A place of learning from the wider community, and a communal space of innovation and engagement where the ultimate goal is social connection and financial independence.