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The Ex-Trader Turning Disabilities Into Profits

The Canadian businessman, Rich Donovan, decided to prove the business world wrong about the social regulations on disabled people. Donovan graduated from the Business School of Columbia University with a cerebral palsy, today he is working towards making government regulations a profitable opportunity for businesses.

Donovan is CEO of the Return on Disability Group (ROD) a firm that aims to provide consulting for businesses on how to improve products, employment and customer experience for disabled clients and employers. As mentioned in their webpage their aim is to “Unlock Value in Disability for the Global Economy”. He determined that there is a market valued in $8 trillion that has allowed him to grow significantly as a business. 

Furthermore, Donovan claims that the market has been taken for granted. According to him, it is currently a market of around 1.3 billion people. The problem, as he states, is that both the government and the companies have failed to convert that number into value. For this reason, Donovan claims that government regulations such as quotas and equity laws do not necessarily improve anything. Often, companies provide opportunities for disabled only to comply with regulations. However, Donovan claims that there is a way to tackle government regulations and convert them into a profitable opportunity for businesses.

Donovan created a business model in which firms invest on adapting products, job opportunities and customer service to this specific market. By doing so, he has proven that the company will not only focus on the disabled population but also on providing a better version of the product, the experience and the service for the rest of the market. Donovan’s idea is very well structured, he basically designed a way for firms to use the needs of disabled people as a business strategy for profit maximization, that way both society and the economy benefit.

I personally consider he has a great reach to the market, considering that he is part of the disabled community. He not only proves the business world wrong about the capabilities of this population but additionally provides a solution. More specifically, I find his notion of converting regulations into a profitable opportunity very interesting. His success is evidence of how this strategy could be employed to build other business opportunities based on the common good of our society. 

As discussed earlier in the course, social regulations aim to protect consumers and the environment to provide safe and healthy working conditions. Among these, there is a regulation that states that there should be equality and job opportunities for disabled people. Therefore, it is interesting to analyze how Donovan’s business idea is globally impacting the business world by converting regulations into a business opportunity. More importantly, his solution is a way to prove how the benefits of regulations can outweigh the costs to implement them.

Additionally, it would be interesting to consider how employing this same strategy can be applied to other regulations to convert them into business opportunities. Also, it can be interesting to balance the effects of this strategy and how it can affect other markets or firms. More specifically, analyze the response of the market and the public on Donovan’s proposal.

Mariana Cerdas

Rose, Beth “The Ex-Trader Turning Disabilities Into Profits” BBC News, 23 Feb.2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/disability-39026809.

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