Blind Entrepreneurs Initiative


The National Federation of the Blind has always played a leadership role in advocating for blind entrepreneurs and the Randolph Sheppard Program. As an organization, the NFB believes in the abilities of the Blind to be successful entrepreneurs. For this reason, the NFB launched the Blind Entrepreneurs Initiative. The BEI focuses on protecting and expanding the Randolph Sheppard Program on both the national and state levels. This includes educating Congress on key issues affecting blind entrepreneurs and advocating with federal officials. The BEI is also plays an active role on state Randolph Sheppard issues. The BEI understands the importance of having strong state programs. But the BEI is more than a Randolph Sheppard initiative. The BEI wants to expand opportunities for blind entrepreneurs beyond the Randolph Sheppard Program and is working hard to develop these opportunities.

Terry Smith has been brought aboard as an NFB team member to lead this initiative but Terry is just part of the team. Nicky Gacos and Kevan Worley of the National Association of Blind Merchants (NABM) play an active role in all BEI activities. NABM has always been the voice of blind entrepreneurs in this country and the BEI is just another tool for it to use in its commitment to advance the cause of blind entrepreneurs. At the NFB National Center, Jesse Hartle and John Pare provide great leadership to the BEI.

The BEI is truly a team effort. The BEI is an NFB initiative. However, one of the goals of the BEI is to bring together all stakeholders to work toward a common cause. These stakeholders include state agencies for the blind, blind entrepreneurs, private sector teaming partners, and others interested in creating meaningful opportunities for blind entrepreneurs.