The Story behind this web site

The ILUSA.Com web site is the beginning of a venture and concept of the New York State Institute on Disability called the Virtual Incubator. The idea of the Virtual Incubator was conceived by several individuals with disabilities sitting around a table back in the Spring of 1997. The idea was to help people with disabilities develop technology and online business, help them get the business of the ground and promote them on the Internet. The idea grew from observing young entrepreneurs conduct business from cubicles for rent at a local Kinko. But a focal point was needed to be the "hub" from which the businesses would be promoted. Because physical space is so expensive, and our capital was limited, the idea of a huge web site was proposed by Pat Figueroa. Along with Tim Maxwell, they set out to develop the web site. To have real immediate appeal, it was decided that the web site would be a directory of resources for independent living. In keeping with the concept of independent living, the web site would be a cross disability venture.

Today, the ILUSA.COM web site has several members already doing business on the Internet. The HTML specialist for the ILUSA Web site, Kathy Raeihle, has become a much sought after web designer. Kathy came to the group as a volunteer and soon was a success. Kathy has been discovered by contractors engaged in evaluating federal web sites and she has been hired to conduct different focus groups, and research many areas on accessibility on the Internet.

Tim Maxwell, one of the original members, has a business of his own providing a variety of services to technology users. In addition he runs a server, NobleHarbor.com, where he hosts web sites. He also has a web site. At this site, Tim, who studies different kinds of tea, runs list serves, a weather station, and provides LAN support to local not-for-profit organizations.

Pat Figueroa is interested in providing management assistance to independent living center directors. In the last few years he has been very busy conducting training of Boards of Directors, staff, and management training. He also leads and administers the entire ILUSA.COM Group. Online support for Centers, staffs, parents, and others in the field of disability are just some of the areas being explored.

Another member, a young graphic designer, Karel Barnoski, went on to work for Kodak.com, and it is a leading developer of flash media.

Eventually, the ILUSA.COM will be a web site directory, which will have many individuals with disabilities maintaining different areas. For example, we envision someone managing the entire calendar and travel area. Between articles of interest, proposed conferences, and other events, the area relating to travel has great potential for commercial success. Are you an entrepreneur with a disability? Interested? Send us an E-mail

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