Bosma Enterprises

Bosma Enterprises: Navigating Blindness

By Robert Kirch, John Harnice, Evan Dieterle

Bosma Enterprises was founded in 1915, over 100 years ago. Bosma Enterprises was originally an Indiana state-run organization that assisted and helped blind people ‘navigate blindness’. After years of successfully helping blind people through government funding, the state of Indiana decided that they were no longer going to fund Bosma. Bosma believed that helping blind people, navigate blindness was still a need in society, so Bosma became a private non-for-profit. 

The Problem 

Nationally, people who are blind or visually impaired face a 70% unemployment rate (Bosma Enterprises). This is due to the stigma accompanying visually impaired people in most workplaces.

Business Model

Bosma Enterprises strives to find ways to help rehabilitate blind people, but also gain valuable skills so that can blind people can become employed, which allows them to live a happier, more productive lives. 

They accomplish this by offering a completely free rehab center that treats newly visually impaired people as well as people who have been blind their whole lives. The rehab center teaches the individuals how to perform everyday tasks, like cooking and cleaning. Learning these everyday life skills allows visually impaired people to gain more confidence and self-reliance which ultimately translates to learning job skills. Bosma trains and teaches blind people various types of jobs in a factory setting as well as teaching them the skills necessary in order to continue their current job. This rehabilitation center not only gives blind people a way to live their lives comfortably, but also gives them valuable skills that can be used in the workplace.

Bosma Enterprises additionally provides employment opportunities for blind people, whether it be internally through their multiple lines of business or externally in a factory or corporate office. Bosma Enterprises currently has three blind people holding executive roles in their company, which further demonstrates that blind people are very competent workers. 

Bosma implements a three-pillar approach, which includes; the Rehabilitation Center, the Visionary Foundation and Bosma Enterprises. The enterprise aspect of Bosma creates funds for their programs to help blind people such as the Rehabilitation Center and the Visionary Foundation. 

Impact

A man by the name of Ray, lost his sight at the age of 18, which is an age that most individuals experience a lot of personal development. Losing his sight made him doubt he would go to college or live a normal life. However, through personal hope and receiving assistance to help navigate his blindness, he went on to college and graduated. He persevered, but with the help of others. Today, Ray works at Bosma Enterprises in their marketing department and has done many great things for the organization. Bosma’s mission is to help visually impaired individuals live better and more productive lives. Ray is just one example of someone who benefited greatly. Ray’s story demonstrates all that Bosma strives for and shows just how deeply impactful an organization like Bosma can be on a community and on individual lives.

Each year, Bosma Enterprises helps and assists approximately 800 blind or visually impaired people from the state of Indiana.

Note: Social Enterprise Alliance – Central Indiana member