New Program Launch for Neurodivergent Founders in Partnership with the Autism Angels Group

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Innovation DuPage
Published 
September 9, 2022
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The mission of the Neurodiverse Entrepreneur Program (NDEP) is toincrease business leadership opportunities for people with developmental and/orcognitive differences such as autism, dyslexia, learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD,and other related diagnoses. Companies with neurodivergent leaders serve asrole models for future entrepreneurs while illustrating that neurodiversity can be a strength. NDEP celebrates and invests in the success of startups and smallcompanies that have neurodivergent leaders in C-Suite roles (e.g., CEO, CFO,Directors, founders, or cofounders).

We have partnered with Autism Angels Group, the world's first neurodiversity social impact investment association, and the Transition2SuccessProject, creator of a proprietary evidenced-based wrap-around support model and inclusion training program that has been shown to help neurodivergentindividuals thrive at key life transition points. Through this partnership we have come together to fund, offer, and host NDEP to drive success amongneurodivergent entrepreneurs, founders, and business leaders.

"NDEP is about showing how cognitive differences can driveorganizational success in new business ventures," stated Joe Cassidy,Innovation DuPage President and Chair. "Along with our partners, we are committedto powering innovation and expanding the frontiers of emerging industries. This program is a perfect example of that commitment as well as our commitment toembracing diversity and inclusion in all its forms."

After a competitive selection process, Wove LLC and DaniMation Entertainmentwere chosen as the first two companies to participate in the NeurodiverseEntrepreneur Program:

·      DaniMation Educates, Elevates, and Empowerstransitioning youth on the autism spectrum by providing animation programs to turn their animation passion into a career. (https://danimationentertainment.com )

·      Wove LLC manufactures premium bicycle parts with a focus on innovation and performance. (https://wovebike.com/ )

Companies selected to be a part of NDEP received:

·      A $4,000 microgrant from Autism Angels Group

·      Access to Transition2Success Project’s T2S-NeurodiverseEntrepreneur Support Model™ ($5,000 value)

·      Innovation DuPage MVP Membership ($2,700value)

 

"NDEP is a first of its kind incubator partnership model thatis paving new opportunity pathways to support neurodivergent leaders throughentrepreneurship,” remarked Dr. Maureen Dunne, Chair of College of DuPage Boardof Trustees. "Throughout history, many of our most iconic entrepreneurs,scientists, artists, and innovators were neurodivergent thinkers. Initiatives like the Neurodiverse Entrepreneur Program are essential to the task of weedingout unproductive biases so we can all benefit from the talents and creativityof different kinds of minds."

Dr. Dunne will be a Keynote Speaker at the 2022 StanfordNeurodiversity Summit and will be highlighting the importance of investing in neurodiversity innovation and inclusion. This year’s NDEP selected companies,DaniMation and Wove LLC, will present on a separate panel on Entrepreneurship,moderated by Dr. Dunne. The Stanford Neurodiversity Summit will take placevirtually from October 23-25, 2022. Over 5,000 global attendees were registeredat last year's Summit where the Neurodiversity Entrepreneur Program was firstannounced.

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