Around 33% of babies born in the US are born with some form of disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These disabilities may often be viewed as a hindrance to living a positive and full life. The truth is, however, that disabilities should not stop people from doing what they want to do and achieving great heights. In fact, there have been several people that have managed to become famous entrepreneurs despite a disability.
Sir Richard Branson
Sir Richard Nicholas Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group that controls more than 400 companies in various fields around the world. He was diagnosed with dyslexia, and had to drop out of school at the age of 16. Branson said that his teachers thought he was lazy because of his disability, but he believes that dyslexia should be recognized as a sign of potential. He continues to control 51% of Virgin Group, and has started other philanthropic efforts like his charity Made by Dyslexia.
Farida Bedwei may not be as famous as Sir Richard Branson, but her contributions remain significant. She is a highly successful entrepreneur and software engineer that partnered with a Ghanian digital comic company to bring to life a superhero that shares her disability. Both the superhero and Bedwei have cerebral palsy. Experts at Cerebral Palsy Network say that the condition can be confusing and lonely without a strong support network, so having proper representation is a big boon for everyone with cerebral palsy: they can see themselves in a character who is able to go on adventures and do wondrous feats.
Satoshi Tajiri is the creator of Pokémon, a well-loved game and cartoon series around the world. Tajiri was formally diagnosed with autism as a child, and he says it was his condition that led him to spend most of his time outdoors. Time spent outdoors brought about a love for collecting insects, and birthed the idea of “pocketing monsters” which eventually led to Pokémon — or pocket monsters. His creation helped to save Nintendo, which had dropping sales at that point in time.
If there is anything to take away from the journey of these people, it is that personal success must come from within. Entrepreneurship is only possible if a person reframes their mindset to overcome hurdles, regardless of what they may be. There are a lot more entrepreneurs in the world that have disabilities, yet lead wholly successful careers, so let this small list light an internal spark for anyone doubting their potential because of their disability.