34 Dodd Street, Wembley

Western Australia 6014

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Adults with hearing loss are more likely to be unemployed or working in a low-paying job while being highly skilled because they face many barriers in their careers. Some barriers are unexpected like the lack of technology, others are attitude-related like unfair treatment based on being deaf at work. A new small business starter and problem solving program, HiddenGems, is set to change that.

HiddenGems is a first-of-its kind program that aims to give power to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community through inclusive entrepreneurship (new small-business ideas) education. At a time of digital disruption, traditional career pathways are changing, and people are approaching their working lives differently.

The HiddenGems program will prepare Deaf and Hard of Hearing people with the important skills that are needed to not only start and run their own business, but that are also valuable to any future workplace such as finding new ways to tackle business problems, think beyond the barriers and create value for their organisations.

Access Plus, has teamed with Gemstar, an Australian company that helps business, to co-create HiddenGems, a modified version of Gemstar’s internationally recognised, ‘YoungGems™’ Entrepreneur and Innovation Program.


Congratulations to our Round One HiddenGem participants:

Linda Cross, Hamish Wilkinson, Gary Ware, James Carr, Domenico Ventura, Karen Francis, William Jones, Zoe Harris, Roberto Trimboli, and Wendy Barrett

Round One Closed, Round Two Begins in 2020. 


  • HiddenGems will be delivered at Gemstar’s Innovation Centre of Excellence in Perth across 12 weeks from April to July.
  • The Gemstar Team will run 3 hour sessions of workshops and consultations from 6 – 9pm, a couple of nights per week.
  • The Gemstar Team will provide additional one on one mentoring.
  • Access Plus will provide a dedicated team of interpreters and tutors to support participants through the program.
  • The program is followed with a development period for participants to refine their ideas and get pitch ready, with ongoing mentorship with the Gemstar Team.
  • Participants will then present their ideas at to a panel of industry leaders.


  • Inclusive entrepreneurship is about fixing a problem.
  • Develop skills to help you break down those barriers with your solutions to ‘real-life’ problems.
  • Prepare you in learning ‘real world’ skills coupled with mentoring, training and strategic guidance, for deaf-owned or operated businesses to be successful based on their unique circumstances.
  • Discover tools and principles invaluable to any future workplace such as problem-solving, strategic thinking, identifying opportunities & solutions and leadership.


  • Understanding inclusive entrepreneurship and you
  • Finding your passion, purpose and planning
  • Problem solving and the business idea
  • How to build a personal brand and a winning story
  • Implementing tools to assess and refine your business ideas
  • Applying effective communication skills to pitch your business idea confidently


This program is appropriate for anyone who is deaf, culturally Deaf, or hard of hearing and is looking to better understand how to solve problems and develop new skills. In particular, the following individuals will find the course valuable:

  • Entrepreneurs and existing business owners
  • Aspiring business owners or any Deaf or Hard of Hearing person who has ever had an idea to fix a problem but didn’t know how to go about setting up their own business to do that.
  • Employees who want to learn new skills to help their existing organisation.
  • Students who want to learn about business and problem-solving skills


Program Dates

Round One Closed April – July 2019

Round Two will be held in 2020

Class Times

12 weeks from 6- 9pm, twice a week

Program Fee

2019: FREE – Provided under the ILC Grant


  • Must be a person who is deaf, culturally Deaf, or hard of hearing
  • Aged between 16 – 65
  • Able to commit the time to complete the full course


Send either an Auslan video (limit 5 minute) or a written email (limit 250 words) explaining why you would like to be involved in HiddenGems.

Applications for Round Two will open in January 2020

If you would like to be included send a registration of interest to enquiry@accessplus.org.au

“This project is an NDIS Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) initiative.”