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Our commitment to accessibility, inclusion and employment

Everyone deserves the chance to enjoy the personal, social and financial benefits of meaningful employment. But while 1 in 5 people in Australia has a disability, only half of those who are of working age have been able to secure employment.

We aim to greatly increase the number of people with disability employed or involved in meaningful work, throughout our range of business enterprises and innovative programs.

We also run programs aimed at increasing rates of small business ownership and entrepreneurship for people with disability.

Supported Employment

We believe people with a disability are entitled to fair pay for a fair day’s work. Our open market business enterprises provide employment opportunities to people with disabilities in the Hunter and North West regions of New South Wales.

Industries include:

Start Up

Start Up is a unique and innovative program designed to assist people with intellectual disability and/or Autism to develop their own meaningful employment opportunities through entrepreneurship or microbusiness. The pilot program was a huge success, meeting all of its funding goals and assisting participants to develop microbusinesses in: Zumba; gaming; sports coaching; disability consultation; photography; pet care; car detailing and; woodwork.

Challenge is seeking program partners to run Start Up in new locations and for different participant groups via NDIS employment supports.

Start Up was evaluated by a team from UTS, University of Newcastle and Macquarie University. A copy of the evaluation and further information on Start Up, is available on request.

In 2021, we are adapting Start Up to support First Nations people. Start Up 2021 will be coordinated by Challenge Community Services and delivered through our partnered Aboriginal organisations – Wandiyali in Newcastle, Wananga-li in Gunnedah and Nepean Community and Neighbourhood Service in Penrit


The Regional Entrepreneurship Challenge (REC) is a Tamworth based entrepreneurship program for people with disability. Adapted from Start Up, REC has assisted participants to develop microbusinesses in: clothing design and production; 3D printing; shared IT and digital spaces; genealogy and; woodwork.

Challenge partners with Billabong Clubhouse to deliver REC in several sites across Tamworth.

Challenge is pleased to partner with Macquarie University, Professor Rebecca Mitchell and PhD student Billy Bruce to develop a skill-identification and evaluation tool for the REC program.

See what Rec Participant Trevor Bradbury has achieved at REC below

(1) Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2020). People with disability in Australia. Retrieved from
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