Woman Overcomes Disability, Opens Business

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Owner ToriJo Spence was diagnosed with social anxiety with agoraphobic tendencies more than a decade ago. Now, she's an entrepreneur.

"Just an idea to it's actually happening. It's a phenomenal experience," she said.

With the help of Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation, Spence turned her idea into a reality. They connected Spence with Nebraska Self Employment Services. Nebraska Vocational Rehab helps people with disabilities get connected to jobs that work well for them. For Spence, that was as her own boss making baklava at Bubbas Baklava.

"It's more my therapy, making baklava," she said.

"The first thing we do is we vet the idea. Is this an idea that the person is qualified to pull off? Is this an idea that we think the trends are favorable to the idea? And is this a business concept that partners well with their disability?," said Carol Blood of Nebraska Self Employment Services.

Blood said the success rate for the small business Nebraska Self Employment Services helps is more than two times the average rate.

Spence said thanks to the services she was connected with, she's looking forward to the future she's creating for her two kids.

"To know that I can teach my kids that 'you can do it,' that's huge," said Spence.

Spence added she did all of this for her kids, to give them a better life than living on welfare and social security.


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