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Our free toolkit to help SMEs become disability smart 

Photo of a woman in a tailoring shop. She's on the phone, a binder opened in front of her. Behind her is an iron and ironing board, and further back are the shop windows, with display mannequins.

For small and medium-sized businesses, putting disability inclusion at the top of the agenda might feel like a gamble. In the context of competitive markets, small business owners and employees might be tempted to focus on other priorities. At Business Disability Forum, we believe that all businesses should recognise the benefits that disabled people bring to their organisations – as employees and customers. Keeping the specific interests and needs of SMEs in mind, we have created a free toolkit, funded by the City Bridge Trust, to guide them on how to best serve their disabled colleagues and customers. 

No matter what your small business looks like, whether you produce products you sell online or in person or deliver services, the SME toolkit has practical advice to help you remove barriers for disabled people and make your organisation, products and services more inclusive. You will benefit by welcoming and retaining valuable staff, as well as expanding your customer base.  

The SME toolkit is organised in three areas: recruiting and supporting disabled employees, welcoming disabled customers and service users, and creating inclusive physical and digital environments. You can also directly access information specific to restaurants or e-commerce.  

Some of the topics covered include:  

  • Making your website accessible  
  • Making your premises accessible  
  • Inclusive customer service  
  • Reasonable adjustments  
  • Interviewing disabled candidates  
  • Fit notes  

“We know that this is a difficult time for many smaller business owners as they face many competing pressures” said Diane Lightfoot, CEO of Business Disability Forum. We hope the practical and easy to action advice in our SME toolkit will help businesses attract and retain skilled and valuable staff. We also hope it will help businesses to broaden their customer base by better serving the needs of disabled consumers.”  

James Lee, Programme Manager at the City Bridge Trust, added: 

“We hope this toolkit proves to be a useful resource that helps SMEs to recruit and retain the great talent and skills found within the disabled community, whilst also helping them to better serve their disabled customers. We thank Business Disability Forum for their expertise in putting together this valuable asset and we are sure that its impact will be felt far and wide.” 

The toolkit is free to access and open to all, within and outside BDF membership. Do share it with fellow SMEs, or small organisations within your networks and supply chain. 

Access the SME toolkit:  

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