Published on February 18, 2014
“Fostering Meaningful Employment and Personal Success for Individuals with Autism”
Social Enterprise “A small business with a big mission” • Social Mission – Employ five individuals who are on the Autism Spectrum in a variety of jobs within the greenhouse, packing room, retail store, and IT department. – Support transitioning students and other young adults with gaining the necessary work experience and career training required to obtain meaningful employment in careers of their choice. – Establish a practical and emotional foundation for a lifetime of personal independence – Resource to Families, Schools and Employers - Uniting the community through education, collaboration, career training, and advocacy Discover Learn Work
Horticultural Business • Horticultural Business – – – – • History – – – – • We grow, cut, and package Roses, Lilies, and Gerberas within our historic greenhouse. We market our flowers primarily through wholesale, retail, website and special events channels. Proceeds from flower sales cultivate our mission. We are also able to serve individuals who have no funding obtain career training services. Established as a non-profit entity. Established in 2009 in Guilford, CT as a partnership between Ability Beyond and Pinchbeck Rose Farm. A Family owned Rose business for over 80 years, embedded in CT agricultural tradition. Pinchbeck Rose Farm went out of business in 2008 succumbing to a changing industry and foreign competition. $2+ Million Invested to Revitalize the Farm / Greenhouses. Funding – – – – Flower Sales State of CT Agricultural Grants Private Foundation Funding Employment Services and School Funding
Journey of the Start Up • Challenges Faced – – – – – • Revitalizing the horticultural business, product is perishable with a growing cycle dependent on sunlight. The demand for flowers is occasional with peaks around holidays and Valentine’s day; think about how to generate income during the down time when flowers are still growing. High overhead in this business, due to labor costs and heating in the winter. Our competition can sell cheaper because they don’t have those same costs. Embracing two simultaneous business activities; growing and selling of flowers and employment/ career training. Sometimes the right business decision is contradictory to the social mission. Creating a succinct and powerful message to generate awareness and sales. Lessons Learned – – – – – The start up process is a journey, you must be adaptable and willing to shift your vision. Your products must have equal or superior quality, and be competitively priced in your market. Be sure a market exists for your product. You cannot sell at a premium based upon cause. A solid business plan with defined operations, marketing, financials, etc…Be prepared to lose money in the beginning. Create partnerships where ever possible, ask for help. Tell your compelling story and market, market, market.
Thank You! www.RosesForAutism.com Questions?
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