Entrepreneurship for Individuals with Disabilities

Hi, I’m Samantha Siedlecki, President & Founder of Paradise Shells & Fine Jewelry by Samantha. Here’s my question for you.

What do these three highly successful entrepreneurs have in common?

  • Ralph Braun
  • Glynda Watson Hyatt
  • Richard Branson

Times Up!

They each have disabilities! Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy, and Dyslexia, respectively. How about that! And this list just scratches the surface of successful entrepreneurs with disabilities! Learn more, here.

Why it Matters

First, you need to understand that people with disabilities are far less likely to be employed than age-adjusted peers, and when these valuable members of society, are employed, they earn far less. But anything is possible! Entrepreneurship and self-determination in business can help overcome some of the barriers.

Look Before You Leap!

One of the best experiences I had preparing to launch Paradise Shells was taking a course entitled “Entrepreneurship Essentials,” from Harvard Business School online and earning a Certificate in this subject matter. Learn more, here.

This was after earning my Master of Science in Social Work Degree from the University of TN, and an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Family Studies from Lipscomb University. I highly recommend this course to anyone who is thinking about becoming an entrepreneur! It will help you learn to evaluate your priorities, opportunities, and risk factors.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is essentially damage to your brain which can impact mobility, speech, intelligence, and other things. In my case, it limited my motor skills, although I played tee-ball, and soccer, took karate, and was also a cheerleader for wrestling and football teams. Doctors attribute my CP to having been born 9 weeks premature.

My Path to Entrepreneurship

For me, my disability was secondary. I wanted to start out on a clean, fresh, innovative journey as an entrepreneur. I chose to take “destiny” into my own hands! Of course, I realized that people with disabilities could be in a tough spot economically and socially unless someone blazes a better path. That is what I am doing.

Paradise Shells & Fine Jewelry by Samantha is Born

Paradise Shells & Fine Jewelry took shape on the beach in Jupiter, Florida – My Paradise. My dad and I harvested seashells and used them to form molds to create fine jewelry in precious metals with a captivating natural finish. Paradise Shells & Fine Jewelry by Samantha was born! Our initial motivation was simply to make jewelry for my mom’s birthday. But then people started asking if we could make jewelry for them. So, I thought, huh? Is there a business here?


Sales exceeded our target for the 2021 holiday season, and they continue to fly through Paradise Shells & Fine Jewelry’s Summer Sale! We thank our beloved customers and followers on social media!

My message to anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur and have their own business, is, “Go for it!” But remain focused on testing your ideas and learning along the way!

Peace, Love & Understanding

Samantha Siedlecki