Our story starts with our founder Miguel. For many years he struggled to keep a job down, not realizing the underlying cause. During adolescence, he was severely bullied for being different, almost every day, all the way into high school, and even in some instances during college years. No matter how hard he tried in every task, assigned to him by several employers, it was never good enough. He was told he worked too slow, or he was too much of a liability. Feeling a failure at everything and about to give up even trying. After meeting his wife and gaining new strength he continued on his journey.
Until one day everything made sense; an opportunity arose, where he was assessed for dyslexia, as a college tutor at an adults evening course picked up on his reading and writing struggles. She advised that in her opinion he not only had dyslexia but several other neurological disorders too.
An appointment with his doctor and an ASD assessment team confirmed the tutors' suspicions. He was diagnosed with Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Asperger’s syndrome, otherwise known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). After studying up on the condition, everything made sense! At last.
Unfortunately, it didn’t help him hold down employment any better. He felt disheartened knowing that there are disability discrimination laws in place but they do not offer protection from unemployment. Within the 1st year, any employer can sack you if you are deemed incompetent etc. Employers don’t have the time or the money to spend offering assistance to those with invisible disabilities.
After many years in and out of employment with many struggles along the way, supporting a wife and 4 children, he decided it was impossible to gain employment, he registered for help from the department of work and pensions and applied for what was known back then as Incapacity Benefits, now known as ESA (work component)
Things were going ok until a change in the benefits system where all benefits were capped at a certain rate and changes to eligibility meant he couldn’t afford to pay the rent on his private rented accommodation.
After assessing his options, Miguel knew there wasn’t any possibility of him gaining employment within the timeframe and no guarantee of it being stable, years experience of being rejected and sacked, who could blame his scepticism.
So he made an appointment to seek help from the DWP about taking the major step of setting up his own business. He had drawn up a business plan and after a few meetings they agreed to help him and offered some small grants to help him get started.
During this time the founder had a fall and broke his spine after he collapsed. For several months he was confined to a back brace and crutches. If there was a time to give up, now would be that time. But he persevered. The grant he received helped towards special office furniture to accommodate his back.
After his fractured spine had healed and a short holiday, he was back on his journey, and one step closer to being his own boss.
The idea for Sweet Victory Products Ltd was created because Miguel's mother was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which she found hard at first, she loved her sweet treats and going cold turkey sent her into despair.
After finding so many tasty products not readily available in supermarkets, Miguel endeavoured to supply them for his mother, to help her make the transition from high sugar treats to lower, no added sugar & sugar-free sweet treats. Having a tasty treat that didn’t spike her blood sugar was a “Sweet Victory” indeed.
The launch date happened, and the sales were coming in. The first year was a big learning curve. Running a business on a limited budget is tough. Miguel started to reminisce about his past and how he has always had to struggle in life but reminded himself of his successes, his wife & children being at the top of the list. He reached out to family and friends who graciously helped him out in times need.
Giving up was never an option for Miguel because just before setting up the company, his second born child was diagnosed with autism. Now more than ever he wanted to make his business a success in order to provide employment for his family in the future, with the hope of one day employing others with autism and offering work experience and advice.
Starting this family run business has also helped in managing his sons' autistic meltdowns or triggers, by drastically removing sugar from the families diet and swapping for sugar-free or lower sugar options, there is a big difference in behaviour because of it.
Every sale that is made at Sweet Victory Products Ltd is an encouragement. When you buy from a small business you really are supporting them.
We hope that our story encourages anyone facing struggles and rejection due to disabilities, whether it in the workplace or in the application process we believe with the right help and the right time, the possibilities are endless. Never give up.
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