Igniting Ideas Program

Program Overview

Synergies Work’s Igniting Ideas Program is a virtual 8-week program designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs with disabilities turn their ideas into launch-ready businesses. Through hands-on learning, one-on-one coaching, and access to a community of founders, participants will learn the essential skills and knowledge needed to build a solid foundation for their business.

Why You’ll Love It

Hands-on Workshops: Dive into practical sessions covering key skills needed to give you the best chances of being a successful entrepreneur.

Expert Guidance: Learned from experienced business coaches, industry leaders and successful startup founders.

Networking Opportunities: Connect with like-minded peers, mentors and potential collaborators.

Pitch Day: Present your business to a larger audience at the conclusion of the program.

Access to Resources: Gain access to a suite of services, and ongoing support and connection, beyond the end of the program.

2024 SPRING APPLICATIONS CLOSED

Igniting Ideas Spring 2024

Program Schedule

Session 1:
Weds March 27, 2024

12PM-2PM Eastern, via Zoom

Session 2:
Weds April 3, 2024

12PM-2PM Eastern, via Zoom

Session 3:
Weds April 17, 2024

12PM-2PM Eastern, via Zoom

Session 4:
Weds April 24, 2024

12PM-2PM Eastern, via Zoom

Session 5:
Weds May 1, 2024

12PM-2PM Eastern, via Zoom

Session 6:
Weds May 8, 2024

12PM-2PM Eastern, via Zoom

Pitch Day:
Weds May 22, 2024

12PM-2PM Eastern, via Zoom

Program Benefits

After completing the Igniting Ideas program, all participants will be eligible to receive the following:

Collage of diverse entrepreneurs

Igniting Ideas Cohort 3, Spring 2024

W Chapman Headshot Photo

William Chapman

Voyagician

William is a 47-year-old man from Louisville, KY, who sees the world from the unique perspective of being legally blind, while filtering it through a heart that deeply cares for others. He is on a journey to found Voyagician, a travel agency that puts people, their needs, and their unique circumstances high on the priority list when planning their travel experiences. Beyond accommodation, Voyagician designs barrier-free travel experiences.

Heather Croas

Heather Croas

Heather Croas is a Certified Peer Specialist and a Whole Health Action Management Coach who resides in Cartersville, GA. Diagnosed with a mental illness at an early age, Heather was able to find solace through the lens of a camera, and she learned to use art as a way to communicate her thoughts and emotions....

Tyler Headshot

Tyler Engel

Tyler Engel, BS has been an advocate for people with disabilities his whole life by promoting inclusion in schools and in the community by being a peer mentor, leading various advocacy groups, promoting adapted sports, making sporting events more inclusive, and providing architecture reviews for accessibility. Currently, Tyler works as a Project Coordinator where he works to improve the respite care system in a global context. 

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Neena Massey

Neena Expressions

Neena Expressions specializes in healing and transformation of autoimmunity through artistic expression. I address unhealed wounds to promote holistic healing of body, mind and soul. The way I deliver these services is through peer support, live performances, workshops, and an annual community gathering.

Shira Rosenbaum

Shira Rosenbaum

Honey Bee’s Granola

Shira is a young entrepreneur who is working hard to fulfill her dreams as a bakery owner/businesswoman. She works hard every day for this dream, while striving to overcome obstacles and still pursuing her daily activities that bring her joy.

Matthew Shapiro

Matthew Shapiro

6 Wheels Consulting

As a person with a disability, Matthew Shapiro has spent most of his life motivated to teach those he has met how to better understand the disability community and inclusion. Through this work it has become his life’s mission to educate others regarding disability related issues. With this thought in mind, in December of 2014, he created 6 Wheels Consulting...

Jessica Watney

Jessica Watney

Meet Our 2023 Igniting Ideas Cohort Members

Nicolas Comstock Igniting Ideas Entrepreneur 2023

Nicolas Comstock

Let's Get Real with Nick

Nicolas is the founder of “Let’s Get Real with Nick.” Nick is an entrepreneur with Cerebral Palsy. He is a public speaker and TikTok influencer that leverages his lived experience to provide friendly and motivational keynotes for audiences. Nick wants to educate and empower others while shattering the glass ceiling of ableism

Sierra Shipton Igniting Ideas Entrepreneur Fall 2023

Sierra Shipton

Beautiful Mountain Editing

Sierra is the founder of Beautiful Mountain Editing, a business that “helps writers and business owners scale the mountain of editing their written work to make it beautiful.” She is an entrepreneur with Cerebral Palsy. Her business provides a selection of editing services that takes your writing from the ideation stage to ready for publication.

Bridgette Suttle Igniting Ideas Entrepreneur Fall 2023

Bridgette Suttle

Suttle Speaks Solutions

Bridgette is the founder of Suttle Speaks, a voiceover recording business. She uses the power of her voice to “speak light” and infuse her content with emotion that captures the audience’s attention. Bridget is an entrepreneur who is blind. She uses her experience as a corporate trainer and a voice over artist to produce an audio experience you won’t forget.

Victoria Spain Igniting Ideas Entrepreneur Fall 2023

Victoria Spain

Divergent Stitches

Victoria is the founder of “Divergent Stitches”. She has combined her love of crafting and fantasy art and tabletop roleplaying to create one of a kind handbags with fabric designs commissioned by other neurodivergent artists. Divergent Stitches also sells the fabric patterns for other creatives to use.

Kei Best Igniting Ideas Entrepreneur Fall 2023

Kei Best

BRR Consulting

Kei is the founder of BRR Consulting – a DEI consulting firm that “takes the mystery out of disability” and trains and educates businesses in the service industry. She is an entrepreneur who is blind. Her business provides physical accessibility assessments and training so that staff learns how to interact with patrons with disabilities.

Dominique Jaramillo Igniting Ideas Entrepreneur Fall 2023

Dominique Jaramillo

Dominique's Barbershop

Dominique is the founder of Dominique’s Barbershop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dominique has over 25 years of barbering experience but had to close his shop due to the pandemic. Dominique is now reopening his shop in a new location and hopes to reconnect with clients. He is an entrepreneur with PTSD. His mission is to continue the legacy of his mentor and keep the tradition of classic barbering while becoming a cornerstone of the community.

Niles Valentine Igniting Ideas Entrepreneur Fall 2023

Niles Valentine

Valentine’s Products and Services

Niles is the founder of Valentine’s Products and Services, a handyman and tech support business that provides compassionate professional services to those that need it the most. Niles Niles is a neurodiverse entrepreneur. He has a special interest in serving the disability community who have limited access to this type of support but recognizes that at one time or another it’s a service everyone will need.

Cylvia Dejean Wright II Igniting Ideas Entrepreneur Fall 2023

Cylvia Dejean Wright II

Pyropaw Studios

Cylvia is the founder of Pyropaw Studios, an online community of neurodivergent artists that create exciting expressive media while supporting each other. The community will collaborate to produce “stories that go straight to the heart.” Cylvia is a neurodiverse entrepreneur who uses art as a way to express her feelings and connect with others. Pyropaw Studios creates and curates video and audio tutorials to help artists hone their craft while fostering a space where artists can connect and collaborate.

Chrissy Sikes Igniting Ideas Entrepreneur Fall 2023

Chrissy Sikes

Happy Tears Art

Chrissy Sikes is the founder and artist behind Happy Tears Art. Chrissy uses art to express her feelings and bring joy to others. Chrissy is an entrepreneur with aphasia of speech and other developmental disabilities. She is currently creating beautifully colorful soaps and plans to print her art on clothing items too. Happy Tears is more than just soap and prints. It’s a reminder to each customer that someone cares about them.

Middle-age caucasian woman with shoulder length brown hair smiling

Natalie Watkins

Natalie Watkins Life Coaching

Natalie Watkis is the founder of Natalie Watkins Life Coaching. Her business helps other visually impaired individuals navigate though their challenges and build a joyful fulfilling life.

Hispanic female with long dark curly hair and rectangle glasses smiling

Maria Blanco

Maria in the Margins Podcast

Maria Blanco is the founder of Maria in the Margins Podcast. Maria’s love of literature has always been constant and through the podcast she wants to “shine a spotlight on little known female authors so you can explore and enjoy their words and ideas.”

Middle aged African-American male in an power chair wearing a company polo shirt and dark slacks

Lamont McLead

Agape Family Healthcare Services

Lamont McLead is the founder of Agape Family Healthcare Services, a home health agency dedicated to a personalized approach to care services. Lamont plans to leverage his experience as a patient and entrepreneur with a spinal cord injury to lead an agency that has a deeper understanding of the commitment and empathy needed to provide quality care.

Caucasian young adult male with long brown hair wearing a blue jacket

Brendan Teverino

Bizarro Creations

Brendan Teverino is the founder of Bizarro Creations, an online art gallery and store with vibrant pieces in different mediums including paintings, illustrations and digital graphics. Brendan is an entrepreneur and artist with primordial dwarfism whose art style is a mix of abstraction, expressionism, and surrealism. “I want to provide people with beautiful art that has a meaningful story.

Ed O'Brian

Ed O'Brian

Ed's Garden

Ed O’Brien is the founder of Ed’s Garden, a horticultural haven that is a sensory sanctuary and serves as a place to nurture visitors' abilities while fostering connections with other individuals. Ed’s garden provides a place for visitors to practice life skills and grow into independence.

African- American woman with shoulder length brown hair and brown glasses smiling

Makini Diaz

Sign-n-Voice Xchange

Makini Diaz is the founder of Sign n Voice Xchange. As a Deaf entrepreneur she has first hand experience with the communication barriers that exist within the community. Makini hopes to use technology to create a two way translation and communication tool to facilitate conversation between signed and spoken language.

Young adult African American woman with Down Syndrome. She has dark shoulder length hair and is wearing a grey t-shirt

Elisha Mckenzie

Leeshie's Lifestyle

Elisha McKenzie is the founder of Leeshie’s Lifestyle, a YouTube channel and brand that inspires, educates and motivates people of all abilities to lead healthier lifestyles. Elisha creates easy to follow dance fitness videos to spread healthy self care that is fun to share.

Caucasian woman with cropped blond hair and glasses wearing a grey sweatshirt with aa painting on the front

Breanna Grey

Chaosxanarchy Clothing

Breanna Grey is the founder of Chaosxanarchy, a painted clothing business that creates one of a kind pieces and encourages people to wear their weirdness with pride. Breanna is an autistic adult that's embraced the power of self acceptance and creates wearable art that gives people a voice.

African American woman with sleek long dark hair and a crisp white collared blouse standing against a gray background.

Winchelle Morival

Luxuriously Win

Winchelle Morival is the founder of Luxuriously Win, a mobile skin care and makeup services company that enhances your natural beauty. Winchele is working toward building a client base and collaborating with bridal service providers to grow her network.

Meet Our Past Igniting Ideas Cohorts