A fantastic business event took place at the Hackney Empire 2 on Saturday evening, 14th December 2013, with the aim of highlighting the campaign to promote and increase awareness of Deaf and Hard of Hearing entrepreneurship for both employed and unemployed people.
The proportion of Deaf and Disabled people experiencing barriers of access to education, employment and setting up businesses is a much higher percentage than the national average. This event was originally created to do something positive about the situation.
Earlier in the evening, GLA member and prospective Mayoral candidate for Tower Hamlets John Biggs welcomed everyone with an encouraging opening speech for Deaf people to acquire stronger advice through organisations like TERRA. He said that he always encourages diversity and pledged to be an all-inclusive leader of the Council if elected. It was a great opportunity for a deaf and hard of hearing audience to have affirmation and endorsement of their contribution and potential in society.
The organisers, Terra Consultancy, have supported many deaf entrepreneurs over recent years, including in the Fashion industry, two promising young deaf designers who are now running a beautiful newly opened fashion boutique in Manchester under the brand ‘Queesra and King’ which is famous in the Deaf Community. They gave a fascinating presentation about the challenges of their fashion studies at university and how they became successfully involved in fashion design for the catwalk and promoting their brands. They have highlighted to Deaf people that the importance is not just about good fashion, but also how to manage working in the fashion industry – working hard and smart to use network development and customer interaction, communication and relationships to grow.
Maintaining the theme of the event, guest speaker from Terra, Dr. Sheila Osmanovic spoke about the new changes to the benefits system which mean Deaf and disabled people can work and be better off financially. Overall, a thought provoking and inspirational evening for everyone.
There was an excellent buffet serving healthy and delicious food and drink, plus a cool DJ playing great music with heavy vibes for those who like to dance (Yes, Deaf people can dance to the vibrations even if they cannot hear the music!). And of course how could a Christmas event be complete without the big man in red! It was not only the kids who got to sit on Santa’s lap and receive gifts but some of the grownups too whose names that were picked out of a hat.
From a human interest perspective, being a hearing person present at a Deaf event where everyone is using BSL (British Sign Language) was an awesome and insightful experience.
To quote one first time attendee “That was amazing! As a Deaf person who had no confidence and bad experiences through school and work before, I now feel I CAN do it, and feel energised to give it my best shot in New Year 2014!”