Small Business Innovation Research 2018 Grant

Live & Learn, Inc. was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant in 2018 from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) to develop Reclaiming Employment.

Reclaiming Employment is an online capacity-building program. The goal of Reclaiming Employment is to promote self-sufficiency and empowerment by preparing individuals with psychiatric histories for self-employment.

Reclaiming Employment will provide access to resources to which may not otherwise be available, featuring resource links (“Library”), educational courses (“Courses”), and social support functions (“Social”) related to starting and sustaining a small business as a self-employed individual with a psychiatric disability.


The SBIR Program is a Congressionally-mandated competitive grant program that supports small business R&D to stimulate high-tech innovation. There are 11 federal agencies that participate in SBIR. The intent of NIDILRR’s Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program is to help support the development of new ideas and projects that are useful to persons with disabilities by inviting the participation of small business firms with strong research capabilities in science, engineering, or educational technology.

The SBIR program is structured in three phases: During Phase I, NIDILRR funds firms to conduct feasibility studies to evaluate the scientific and technical merit of an idea. During Phase II, NIDILRR-funded firms expand on the results of Phase I to pursue further development.

Self-Employment Starts with You!

The project is based on the results of our prior NIDILRR grant for the Self-Employment Starts with You study.

The Self Employment Starts with You (SESY) study used qualitative and survey data to examine self-employment as a strategy to improve career options and financial outcomes for individuals with a psychiatric disability. People who are labeled with mental disorders experience high rates of unemployment, discrimination, and lack of access to education and work opportunities. Self-employment can be a uniquely valuable option for improving career outcomes, and provide opportunities for creative and economic independence.

Live & Learn, Inc.

Live & Learn, Inc. is a California-based, service user-run and woman-owned social enterprise that provides research, technical assistance, and knowledge translation services to behavioral health system stakeholders. Live & Learn was founded because using science to improve mental health systems requires that the experiences of people who have used mental health services are represented by data.

Live & Learn, Inc. operates Reclaiming Employment as part of our mission to promote independence  and empowerment for individuals who have used mental health services.

Get in touch and let us know what you think. What do you need to be successful in business?

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