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Pioneer of the Week: Shani Dhanda from Diversability Card

Community Manager Monday
Monday

We first met Shani Dhanda, @Shani on the Voom Tour. After winning one of our pioneers' tickets and joining us at fellow pioneer Richard Branson's book launch she shared an exciting announcement.  We caught up to find out more about her startup: Diversability Card, and her latest disability campaign film work with Scope.

 

Introduce you and your business in one sentence.

Shani Dhanda Diversability Card.pngHi, I’m Shani, an international event manager, global voyager, disability role model and campaigner. I founded the Diversability Card, the official discount card for people with disabilities in the UK.

 

Tell us 2 interesting facts about you.

  1. I have travelled to 28 countries
  2. I have learnt how to walk again six times after multiple leg fractures, due to my condition.

How did you start your business?

I started my business online, I created my own website and invited people to sign up. In two months I have had over 6000 people sign up for the Diversability Card.

 

What made you start your business?

I had the idea for the Diversability Card 10 years ago when I was researching for my university dissertation. It explored barriers to accessible leisure and the results really surprised me. Since then Scope have carried some very insightful research about the cost of living for people with disabilities, which is on average £550 higher per month than non-disabled people. I don’t think it’s fair disabled people should have to pay more just to live the same lives as others, so I wanted to help alleviate this financial pressure.

 

What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?

I love the flexible working hours it allows me to have, especially as I have rare condition. I am also thinking about things in a different way and meeting so many different people, which I really enjoy.

 

What has been the biggest challenge for you so far?

Getting to speak to the people I want to connect with has been the hardest part so far. I love LinkedIn, it’s been such a useful tool!

 

Can you share an experience that really helped you take your business forward?

Soon after I launched the Diversability Card, I had my first experience of pitching at the Voom competition in Cardiff. It was the first time I had spoken about the Diversability Card to the public and the reaction was fantastic and very positive.

 

Where do you work from?

Untitled design (86).pngI work from home at my dining table.

This photo was taken a few weeks ago when Scope came and filming an upcoming campaign.

 

What do you wish you knew when you first started in business?

That it can be lonely at times. Going from working in an office with lots of people to working by yourself can be hard.

 

 

Latest news?

This week I've been speaking with lots of different journalists and press outlets about the difficulties people with disabilities face when seeking employment.

 

What would you like to ask the Voom Pioneers community?

I’d like to ask the Voom community if they have any tips for working solo, after being used to working in an office or with big teams?

Comments

Great question @Shani it can be really easy to procrastinate and working alone can sometimes feel isolated.  Ensure you go to events/networking/seminars with like minded people to gain 'fresh' insight and try and be strict with your time and tasks you need to accomplish.  Good luck!

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