HOMETOWN BUBBLES

Inspiring entrepreneurship in those who need it most.

 

contact

Moe Alaeddine – Project Manager – malaeddine@laurentian.ca

There is an appalling lack of entrepreneurial opportunities for youth and specifically youth with disabilities. Autism and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), are both general terms for a group of complex disorders affecting brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. Autism now affects 1 in 59 children worldwide and is one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders in the U.S. In fact, 1 in 66 children in Canada are on the autism spectrum, 1 in 59 youth in the United States, approximately 700,000 people in the UK, and 1 in 435 children in China (Autism Speaks, 2018). Unfortunately, these disorders limit the business opportunities for individuals with autism resulting in an unemployment rate of over 80%, in Canada alone (World Health Organisation, 2017). Employers sometimes hesitate to hire an individual on the autism spectrum because of the extra training they might require. Thus, because of the lack of community involvement and awareness to address this stigma, people with ASD, specifically youth, have difficulty finding employment or learning the valuable skills that come with entrepreneurship.

That's why we created Hometown Bubbles. A social enterprise that exposes autistic youth to entrepreneurship and business leadership by allowing them to run their own soap business. We host a series of workshops that teach youth with ASD how to create, market and sell soap products independently. We provide these youths with all the fundamentals of running a soap business from supplying all necessary materials to teaching them the basic business skills required to scale their

operations. Our participants then graduate from the program and are able to run their Hometown Bubbles'
franchise independently. We host additional workshops and stay in constant contact with our franchisees for
added support and large order fulfillment afterwards

We also offer the Hometown Bubbles model to other organizations that specialize in disabled youths and schools that offer Special Needs programs. For our organization-based services, we sell them the full Hometown Bubbles kit, same as the one which our graduates receive once they've finished our program. We then visit on a biweekly basis for 2 months to teach the program and aid them, along with the supervisor, in building the business. After the 2 months, the schools/organizations can launch Hometown Bubbles independently and sell their soaps on their own means, as a team. We also ensure to stay in constant contact with all our participating schools/organizations.

Once an individual, school or organisation joins Hometown Bubbles they will register to receive access to the Hometown Bubbles website. Through the website, we sell all the required materials individually such as the soaps base, essential oils, labels, molds etc. in case our participants run out or want to increase their supplies and/or inventory. Additionally, we also offer custom labels for special orders and custom business cards. Also featured on the website is our business-building program through modules/presentations and videos to access anytime.