Joyfully Different signed up to the Brighton & Hove Living Wage campaign recently. We asked them a few questions to get to know them a little better, and find out why paying the real Living Wage is important to them.
Could you give a brief description of Joyfully Different journey – and its mission?
Joyfully Different is a non-profit business support community and learning hub for neurodivergent entrepreneurs, leaders and future founders, founded by Alice Reeves and Mark Blake in May 2023.
We exist to empower neurodivergent business owners to bring more joy into their professional lives by supporting them holistically to develop the business skills they need while exploring how to bring true meaning and fulfilment into their businesses.
As successful neurodivergent business owners ourselves, we understand what it is like for neurodivergent founders to have to navigate a lack of accessibility and understanding in the business world. This has made us both determined to support our growing neurodivergent business community to access the kind of support and resources we wish we’d had during our own business journeys.
Why did Joyfully Different join the Living Wage Campaign?
Joyfully Different has joined the Living Wage Campaign because we believe that everyone has the right to a living wage. As of 2021, the average disability pay gap in the UK is 13.8%, while the pay difference for those with autism is 33.5% less than non-disabled employees – a core part of our mission is to change that by empowering neurodivergent leaders with the skills they need to success in their own enterprises, and in organisations.
We believe that treating your team with care and love is the only way to secure the long-term health of a business, and the most important part of that is paying people a decent wage that ensures security and safety at home. If people are struggling with the bare essentials, then we don’t believe that they can ever feel truly fulfilled at work.
What is the Joyfully Different most memorable moment?
The most memorable moment of Joyfully Different so far has been our launch event at PLATF9RM in Brighton, where we welcomed a panel of some of the most successful neurodivergent founders in the city. The energy of the room was incredible, our panellists shared their stories so openly and authentically, and everyone left feeling inspired by what a room full of neurodivergent people can create together!
What makes Joyfully different and unique?
We’re unique because we’re doing what no other business community does, and as far as we can tell there is no other non-profit organisation in the UK doing what we do. We believe that we are the only social enterprise focused on creating and growing neurodivergent-led businesses in the UK – while there are many consultants and organisations training businesses to be more inclusive of their neurodivergent employees, we acknowledge that self-employment is the best route for many neurodivergent people and support them holistically to develop the skills and self-care methods they need to be successful while protecting their mental health and wellbeing.