Patricia Gros Micol

Finalist 2013

Patricia Gros Micol

Handishare employs disabled people to provide back-office and administrative services to businesses.

At the age of 17, Patricia Gros Micol was in a train crash that left her with chronic head and back pains. Later she experienced partial facial paralysis, then survived a small heart attack. ‘At one point, all my hair fell out! But I never thought I was a woman with disabilities.’ Legally speaking, she is, but after 25 years working in management positions, Patricia was patently more than capable. So she decided to set up a company giving employment opportunities to disabled people. An ‘adapted’ company: the official term for a company with over 80% disabled employees.

France has 1.8 million disabled people of working age. But Patricia found that most jobs offered by adapted companies are in manual sectors such as gardening or cleaning. She wanted opportunities for people whose disability does not fit with physical activity. French businesses with over 20 employees are legally obliged to hire 6% of disabled workers. Since 2010, they have been fined heavily if they do not. If they outsource work to adapted companies their obligations can be reduced by up to 50%. Handishare decided to provide these outsourcing abilities.

The company offers a range of business administration services in typically time-consuming areas, notably document scanning, telephone prospection or electronic document management. ‘There is a growing amount of paperwork and administration in France, so I see it as a great market opportunity.’ To set up as an adapted business, which gives rights to certain tax breaks, Patricia had to compile a 200-page dossier. ‘It took over one year!’