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Microenterprise options for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities: An outcome evaluation (Conroy et al. 2010)

Review Guidelines


Conroy, J., Ferris, C., & Irvine, R. (2010). Microenterprise options for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities: An outcome evaluation. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 7(4), 269-277.


  • The study’s objective was to examine the impact of a microenterprise intervention from Network180, an agency serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, on employment, earnings, and education of 27 people with disabilities. The study defined microenterprise as a very small business, employing 10 or fewer people, with start-up costs less than $500. As part of the intervention, vocational staff at Network180 provided information about microenterprises to people already receiving services at Network180. Staff supported those interested in microenterprises with tasks such as small business loans and talking to community stakeholders.
  • The authors used a pre-post design, collecting survey data measuring hours worked and earnings from several types of employment, as well as the number of hours spent on educational activities, before and after participation in the intervention. Data were collected at one point in time; respondents were asked to estimate pre-intervention data from memory. The authors summed the reported outcomes for all 27 participants and performed statistical tests on the totals rather than the means of each outcome.
  • The study found that hours spent per week engaged in self-employment, as well as earnings from self-employment, were significantly higher after the intervention than before it. In contrast, earnings and weekly hours spent in sheltered or workshop employment decreased significantly after the intervention, compared with before it.
  • There were no significant differences before or after the intervention on hours spent on educational activities.

Intervention Examined

Network180 microenterprise intervention

Reviewed by CLEAR

August 2016