Disability Project Empower


What is DPE (In detail)

Disability Project Empower is redefining the expectations of disability. Supporting and empowering young disabled people to become entrepreneurs.

We support aspiring young disabled entrepreneurs to create, lead, crowdsource, and execute their own entrepreneurship initiatives—projects for and run by disabled youth. Projects can vary  in stages of development. Some maybe startups, others may enhance existing companies, some may be school or community initiatives. Whatever your idea may be, our mission is to help you develop it from one stage to the next. 

Participants of Disability Project Empower will not only develop entrepreneurial skills, but also engage with 2Gether's global network to exchange ideas, resources, and feedback from other established mentors and supporters, both disabled and non-disabled. Disability Project Empower is not a crowdsourcing site, like Indiegogo.com or KickStarter.com, but a competitive network and community, that strives to ensure the growth and success of passionate, proud, innovative disabled youth. 

From August to December, twice a week, we'll work with up to 5 entrepreneurs from around the world, supporting them in their entrepreneurial projects. The questions below guide some of the problems we'll be working to solve. 

Business Planning + Pitching Prep



Business Planning 

  • What's the problem that I'm trying to solve? 
  • What has been done to solve this problem? 
  • What's the best approach to solve this problem? Is this systematic change? Why or why not?  
  • How can the solution be measured and sustained? 
  • Is now the best time to do this? Why or why not? 

Pitching Prep

  • What elements make up a strong pitch?
  • How does this project fit into a larger vision?
  • What's the operating and development cost of my project? 
  • Why will people invest in ME?
  • What investors should I be reaching out to? 
  • Who are key partners that would enhance this project? 



SEPTEMBER - october 

Why crowdsource?

  • How is crowdfunding different from other fundraising strategies?  
  • What platform should I use? Why? 
  • What strategy will make me more likely to succeed? 
  • What should I spend most of my time doing? (in this 30 days) 
  • What is the best way to divide tasks among my team? 

Understanding "The Crowd" 

  • What role do social media and PR play in my crowdfunding efforts? 
  • Where is the crowd at? How can I best utilize the crowd? 
  • What is the best way to motivate someone to be part of my crowd?
  • What's the best way to approach a potential partner or sponsor?  
  • When should I acknowledge failure or success?  


october -November 


  • What's my execution plan and timeline? 
  • What are my deliverables? For my users? For my investors? 
  • How have my projections changed? If at all.    
  • What resources/connections did I gain from doing the campaign?
  • What did I lose/burned from doing the campaign? How can I recuperate some of the losses?  
  • What resources do I still need to execute my deliverables? 
  • What do these deliverables tell me about my product/service? 


  • How can I keep my contributors and/or investors engaging? 
  • Who are collaborators I can now reach out to? 
  • What did I learn about my team, my product and my networks from the campaign? 


NOVEMBER - December & Beyond 

Personal Growth

  • What skills did I gain from the experience? 
  • What did I learn from it? 
  • How did I fail throughout the experience?
  • How did I succeed?
  • How did this experience change my perception of disability? If at all. 

Project Feedback

  • What resources do I need to expand/continue my work? 
  • What strategic partners would be useful? 
  • Do I want to stay connected to the 2Gether network? If yes, How?  
  • Would I recommend this experience to someone else? Why or why not?
  • What would I change/improve about the experience?  

Biz Dev and Management

Melissa L. Bradley
Kodgod School Of Business   

Thomas J. Raffa 
President & CEO

Nick Boedicker
Founder & Director
Strategic Good

Silvia Sagari
Strategic Planning

Crowdfunding and PR    

Hadi El Heneidi
CrowdFunding Lead
Mistfit Shine 

Olivia Curl

Naomi Hirabayashi
Chief Marketing Officer

Steven Rodrigez
Strategist, Crowdfunding
Invalid Crop Film

Tech and Innovation  

Nancy Lublin
Founder and CEO
Crisis Text Line

William Huster

Matt Garza
Director of Product

James Li
Product Manager

Disability and Inclusion

Judith Heumann
Special Advisor
US Department of State

David Morrissey
Executive Director

Russell Shaffer
Senior Manager- Corporate

Lawrence Carter-Long
Public Affairs Specialist
Nacional Council on Disability


To be eligible for Disability Project Empower participants must: 

  • Have a project idea based on a problem they want to solve.
    •  Projects may be in the idea, startup, or more advanced phase. They may also be a modification or addition to an already existing organization/company. Student groups, or social initiatives (meaning: non need for a legal entity) are also welcome to apply.    
  • Self identify as disabled. 
  • Be 30 or younger.
  • Be fluent in English.
  • Be the primary decision maker for the project. 
  • Have two other team members (disabled or non-disabled) that are willing to work with you. 
  • Commit to in participating, with your team, on a one-hour meeting twice a week on Slack.com. From August 17-December 15, 2016.
    • Specific times TBD.
    • (if slack is not accessible for you, let us know) 
  • Complete application before August 16, 2016. 5PM EST.