Sowing the seeds of success for their future with herb microbusiness

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Worklink WA NDIS participants and small herb business owners Ethan Atkinson and Bailey Wals.
Camera IconWorklink WA NDIS participants and small herb business owners Ethan Atkinson and Bailey Wals. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

By growing herbs for their new microbusiness, two Albany men with autism are sowing the foundations of a career.

Through Worklink WA, Ethan Atkinson, 18, and Bailey Wals, 16, have turned their love of gardening into a business venture.

They are the first participants at Worklink WA to use the National Disability Insurance Scheme, as the Albany-based organisation launches a program for the NDIS this month.

The pair have been taking charge of their business journey, learning about spreadsheets, calculating income and costs, and reaping the rewards of having Albany support their product.

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They grow herbs in paper coffee cups and sell them at local cafe The Little Coffee Shoppe.

And now they’re expanding into vegetables.

Mr Wals said they were excited about what the business could mean for their future.

“It feels very good to be starting our own business,” he said.

Worklink WA communities manager Wendy Harrup, who has been running the program with the pair, said they had been developing in “leaps and bounds”.

“The NDIS have many different categories, and we use this as daily living skills because they are learning social skills, confidence, and also later on in life they can do gardening,” she said.

“They both go to the local community garden a lot and bring their knowledge back here.”

Worklink WA CEO Ben Killey said the microbusiness was a win-win.

“It’s the gratification that the boys get when someone buys it, and the understanding of why they bought it,” he said.

“It gives them a lift and those things really add up. If people are looking to buy some good local herbs, then these have got that additional benefit that it’s helping these young people along the way.”

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