Our Quarantine edition (Issue 2) featured some small businesses owned by people with disabilities. As lockdown continues, many of these businesses are struggling. We want to encourage our readers to support local entrepreneurs with disabilities in this difficult time. For more information, go check out our second issue (available only online for free) here.
Independency is a small business in the Western Cape which sells, rents out and repairs mobility devices, bathroom and bedroom equipment. Willem Strauss started the business in 2006 after he was unable to find employment.
“It was difficult to find employment being in a wheelchair,” he explains. “I never received a payout of any kind and needed to create an income.”
In addition to the income, owning his own business has enabled Strauss to take sick leave whenever he needed. He has also been able to help others with his services and through employment. Independency has wheelchairs, walking frames, crutches, hospital beds, shower and bed equipment available for hire. It mostly services the elderly.
“Most of our clients are in retirement villages and were in lockdown long before the national lockdown,” Strauss says. “In addition, malls, doctors, hospitals and airports were closed – some of our other clientele.”
The staff at Independency has become family for Strauss. He notes: “We have been working together for a long time and have become like a real family. I enjoy supplying the public with excellent service and products as well as trying and grow the business to the best of our ability.”
Like many small businesses in South Africa, Independency needed some additional financial support to survive during lockdown. Strauss received funding from the Quadriplegic and Paraplegic Charitable Trust of South Africa (QPCTSA).
“The funding we received from QPCTSA helped us to stay positive. We could keep our doors open.” Strauss says. “I want to thank the Trust for thinking about Independency. This came as a big surprise to us when we realised the organisation cared so much about us.”
To support this small business, contact them at 021 853 7888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.