Self-Employment Program

Iowa Self-Employment (ISE) is a program designed for clients of Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS) or Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB) whose vocational goal is self-employment. While IVRS mainly focuses on helping job candidates (JCs) get hired by someone else, the ISE program provides technical and financial assistance to help qualified individuals with disabilities achieve self-sufficiency and work at their optimum level by starting, expanding, or purchasing a business. The business itself must be "for-profit" and Iowa-based. Referrals to the ISE program are made by IVRS/ IDB counselors.

What Kind of Assistance Does ISE Provide?

Besides the regular counseling services, ISE provides two kinds of monetary funding: Financial Assistance and Technical Assistance. This funding is provided through one of two different programs: Microenterprise ISE or Full ISE.

Financial Assistance

Financial Assistance (FA) is used to provide tangible assets to your business. This can include but not limited to business equipment, flyers, supplies, inventory, computers and software, advertising, insurance, and business-related rent costs for up to 6 months. Up to $10,000 of assistance can be received.

Technical Assistance

Technical Assistance (TA) is used to purchase specialized services that is above the expertise of the Business Specialist and counselor. Some common uses for these funds are paying for legal fees, help with accounting, website developers, and graphic designers. Up to $10,000 of assistance can be received.​

Microenterprise ISE

Microenterprise ISE is used for individuals who don't have as big of an expansion/ upgrade/ need to their current business or those who are independent contractors. This also doesn't require any prior investment on your part. Microenterprise ISE is best suited if your business needs are less than $1500 for both FA and TA. 

Full ISE

Full ISE is used for individuals who are/ want to become entrepreneurs and who own their own business. They carry the burden of the business alone or have a partnership with someone. In order to invest, you must show that you are interested in the business itself. Whatever you start with as an investment, ISE will match dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000. Full ISE is best suited if your business needs are greater than $1500 for both FA and TA.

What Businesses Does ISE Support?

ISE supports most businesses. However, there are a few that cannot be supported no matter the circumstances. These include:
  • Non-profits,
  • Multi-level marketing,
  • Illegal businesses, and
  • Businesses inconsistent with community standards.

Is Self-Employment Right for You?

Your IVRS/ IDB counselor can help you explore ISE to find out if self-employment is the right strategy for your career success. 

Contact Us

Find an IVRS office nearest to you, or call us at (515) 281-4211 to be referred to an IVRS counselor in your area. People who are blind or severely visually impaired should contact the Iowa Department for the Blind at (800) 362-2587.

Linda Vongxay, ISE Rehab Assistant
(515) 242-5879

Dennis Bogenrief, MBA, Business Development Specialist
(712) 253-3193

Kochell Weber-Ricklefs, MPA, PHR, Business Development Specialist
(319) 290-4268

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Printed from the website on June 23, 2021 at 7:29pm.