ViE (Vision in Enterprise) project

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Vision in Enterprise is a Transfer of Innovation Project funded by Leonardo.

With the current Europe wide economic downturn and consequent reduction in job vacancies, those normally disadvantaged in the labour market face additional pressures. Blind and partially sighted people face a range of significant barriers, which has resulted in their widespread exclusion from the labour market. These challenges are multiple, stemming from factors such as fragmented educational histories, low confidence/self esteem, and stigmatisation throughout the wider community (RNIB Needs Survey 2001).

For those encountering barriers to entry in the labour market, the solution is often to consider starting their own business or becoming self-employed. Action for Blind People (Action), in partnership with Business Link for London, has developed tailored business support services for this group with funding from the London Development Agency (LDA).

The aim of the Vision in Enterprise project is to take the innovatory programme of support services developed in the LDA funded Enterprise in Sight (EIS) project and build on the innovation achieved:

- to develop a toolkit and good practice guide for those training business support advisers working with the visually impaired;

- to enable those supporting blind and visually impaired entrepreneurs both in the UK and across Europe to be trained in support techniques proven to be successful with this vulnerable group;

- to test and adapt the toolkit for use by mainstream providers of business support to enable them to support the visually impaired and thereby increase the range of support available to this vulnerable group;

- to disseminate the learning and good practice gained on a pan-European basis to increase the capacity and competences of visually impaired.

The project also builds on research undertaken in the successful EQUAL 2 Visage project which both demonstrated the employability and entrepreneurship of visually impaired people in the open labour market, and the need for specialist training and skills for business support staff working with this group.

Tangible results will be a toolkit of bespoke learning materials, competencies and delivery methods for VET professionals with underpinning materials such as leaflets and reference guides. Intangible outcomes will include improved access to mainstream enterprise development and self-employment support services for the visually impaired resulting from improved training and greater awareness of the needs of this vulnerable group. The main impact of the project will be widespread awareness that the visually impaired can successfully achieve self-employment and develop enterprise given sensitive and appropriate support.

   Check out also the official project page

Read the Vision in Enterprise Research and Needs Analysis report

The project partnership comprises of 6 partners.

Vision in Enterprise partner organisations

Action for Blind People

Action’s Self Employment Teams have an excellent reputation for delivering hands-on support to visually impaired people, with 9 years experience delivering successful contracts for employment and training, including ESF Objective 3, EQUAL, and SRB. Supporting over 200 clients per year, 90% of programme beneficiaries who start a business are still trading after 3 years, which is unparalleled by any other provider.

Address: Action for Blind People, 14 – 16 Verney Road, London SE16 3DZ.

Contact: Wai-Man Leung Tel: ++ (0) 2076354800


Prevista is an independent London based SME founded in 1996, whose core business is the provision of management and business development solutions for business support, social, cultural and economic development and lifelong learning, underpinned by research, development and evaluation consultancy.

The company has successfully delivered over £100million of EU funded programmes including ESF and ERDF. Prevista’s transnational credentials extend to the ADAPT and 3 EQUAL programmes. The company supplied research and evaluation services to lead partners in all 3 of these EQUAL programmes including the VISAGE programme, as well as project and programme management to 2.

The company’s operations are divided into business and enterprise support programmes, employment brokerage and learning and skills. The company employs 60 people and 70 associates. Our key client is the English Learning and Skills Council providing us with specific competence and expertise in relation to this project.

Address: Prevista Limited, United House, North Road, London N7 9DP.

Contact: Sonia Ali Tel: ++ (0) 2076094198


The national organisation for the blind and visually impaired in Cyprus was established in 1980. The organisation is non-governmental and mainly charity funded. The main goals of the organisation are the promotion of the social welfare of the blind, the prevention of blindness, the medical treatment of the blind, the promotion of the education of the blind, the encouragement and promotion of suitable academic education and vocational training of the blind, the rehabilitation and integration of the blind, the provision of the required technical aids and means for the work and the daily life of the blind, the establishment of equivalent living standards and the appropriate conditions for the integration of blind persons into the community in general, the dissemination of information concerning the problems and the welfare of the blind, and the development and the promotion of sports amongst the blind.

Address: Pankypria Organosi Tyflon, (POT), P.O. Box 23511, 1684, Nicosia, Cyprus.

Contact: Maria Kyriacou Tel: ++ 0035799571323

National Council for the Blind of Ireland

NCBI is a not for profit charitable organisation which offers support and services nationwide to people experiencing difficulties with their eyesight. About 18 per cent of people using NCBI's services are completely blind, while 82 per cent have varying degrees of usable vision. Established in 1931 to promote the full independence of people who are blind or vision impaired, NCBI now provides a range of services to over 14,000 people. NCBI also provides a range of services to public and private organisations so that their services are accessible to people who are blind and vision impaired. We have over 150 staff who deliver our services and are supported by a team of dedicated volunteers throughout the country. Our vision is for people who are blind of vision impaired to have the same opportunities, rights and choices as other to fully participate in society.

Address:National Council for the Blind Ireland, (NCBI), Whitworth Road, Dublin, 9, Ireland.

Contact: Denis Daly Tel: ++35318821905

Foundation Institute for Regional Development (PL: Fundacja Instytut Rozwoju Regionalnego - FIRR)

FIRR is a non-profit NGO set up on 26th August 2003 and active in the fields of science, innovation transfer and business, as well as functioning at different levels to support those most frequently discriminated against in society.

The Foundation’s fundamental mission is to ensure balanced development in business, the transfer of innovative solutions, and support for businesses and other organisations in the acquisition and use of new technologies.

The main goal is to improve employment, educational and social opportunities for people with different kinds of impairment. FIRR has great experience in creating and adopting innovative training programs and methodology using for and by disabled and social excluded people. It also has knowledge, experience and personal and technical possibilities to participate in international project.

Address: Fundacja Instytut Rozwoju Regionalnego, (FIRR), ul. Wybickiego 3a, Krakow 31-261, Poland.

Contact: Anna Zebrak Tel: ++48663883335, Lukasz Hoppe Tel: ++48663000034

EBU - European Blind Union

The European Blind Union is a non-governmental and non-profit-making organisation founded in 1984. EBU works to make sure that the interests of blind and partially sighted people are taken into account in all EU decisions which affect them. To achieve this, EBU actively seek to influence EU policies.

EBU currently has 45 member countries. The EBU network has a wealth of expertise in all areas relating to the consequences of sight loss, in particular with access to the labour market for blind and partially sighted people. Our members provide services, training and advice as well as representing the rights of blind and partially sighted people. EBU undertake research, promote public awareness and empower blind and partially sighted people to take up their rights and lead active lives.

The EBU office, based in Paris, is responsible for communication within EBU and for information to the general public. It produces a Newsletter and press releases in English, French, German and Spanish.

Address: European Blind Union, 58 avenue Bosquet, Paris 75007, France.

Contact: Romain Ferretti Tel: ++0033147053820

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission under the Lifelong Learning Programme. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.