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Daniel Toops, a man with autism, created JT Firestarters as a way to earn money and gain independence.


This Man With Autism’s Creation Sparks a Hot Business.

Daniel Toops, 21, is nonverbal and on the autism spectrum.

Toops started JT Firestarters in 2015 as a way to earn money and gain independence.

JT Firestarters are an easy and inexpensive way to start a fire.

Toops runs all aspects of JT Firestarters with the help of his team.

Toops makes the firestarters by hand using recycled materials.

Materials include cardboard egg cartons, shredded paper, drying lint and candle wax.

Toops’ local community in Bellevue, Iowa helps out by donating supplies.

Firestarters are sold in 70 stores across IA, IL, KY, MN and WI.

The company hopes to hire more people with disabilities as they grow.

To learn more, visit

Originally published: March 8, 2017
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