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Entrepreneur Academy Application


The DSACF is excited to be starting the third cohort of the National Down Syndrome Entrepreneur Academy. This program is intended for teens and adults with Down syndrome who are interested learning how to start their own businesses and implementing what they learn to start a business during the program.

 The program will begin with a 6 week once a week evening class. In this Entrepreneur Bootcamp, experts in the field will review various topics ranging from brainstorming the idea, to evaluating the market, to advertising to your market, to actually producing and selling a product. To best empower the self-advocate participants’ support participant (sidekick) will be required to attend sessions during the 6 week boot camp, either concurrently or in the same session. They will have homework and planning worksheets that are designed to be completed together.  The sidekick can be a parent, another relative, a friend, or another trusted partner that makes a commitment to complete the program with the participant.

Following the boot camp, participants will have monthly sessions with additional business topics including topics not covered in the boot camp and other important soft skills like: elevator speeches, presentations, dressing the part, sales meetings, expanding social media and marketing, and more.  These MONTHLY presentations will meet for 9 months to also check in regarding their business venture and get valuable feedback. Participants are expected to attend all sessions throughout the year. Excused absences are accepted with advanced notice.

The 9-month program will conclude with an Entrepreneur Showcase that we will invite elected officials, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and business executives to hear the presentations. The winner will receive an award and we will invite attendees to meet further with participants to consider business investments.  *Please note that presentations are not required.

Siblings welcome and encouraged to attend any sessions. If a sibling is a sidekick, then their participation is required.

Participants will get many FREE opportunities to showcase their businesses and sell their products such as the Step Up Walk, Nathaniel’s Hope Walk, Family Café, and others.  Participants may also get opportunities to be featured on television or radio free of charge. Participants may also get FREE opportunity to be featured on the DSACF website.

$150 for the whole year including 16 sessions and a mentor. This is available through the generosity of our donors that allow a $1350 scholarship to this $1,500 program. Additional needs based partial or full scholarships available for the $150 yearlong program fee. Email for additional scholarship information. 


Weekly Meetings START September 17.

Important Information

  • No identified academic or communication skills are required. AGES 15+ ARE WELCOME TO APPLY!

  • Gatherings will take place on Tuesdays from 6:30PM - 8:30PM.

  • Each self-advocate will have a designated sidekick (parent/loved one) which will attend meetings with them and help them through the program.

  • Self-advocates and sidekicks will be expected to attend all meetings.