Major airline backs disabled entrepreneur invention to make aviation accessible for all
Twenty-five-year-old entrepreneur Josh Wintersgill, the founder of AbleMove, has unveiled a radical invention to help disabled people transfer safely to airline seats, only three months after winning the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs from easyJet Founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.
The Stelios Award, presented in partnership with charity Leonard Cheshire, recognises the best business ideas after a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style interview challenge, with winners picking up £10,000 each and the overall winner receiving £30,000 in start-up funds from Sir Stelios.
Sir Stelios said: “As is the often the case — the simplest ideas can be the best.
“Josh has had an idea, which is the near-perfect solution to the indignity, discomfort and embarrassment experienced by disabled people when trying to access aircraft seats.
“I’m very confident that easyTravelseat will soon become as synonymous for ease and comfort as Stannah has for stairlifts.”
Josh’s product, the easyTravelseat, is an in-situ transfer seat enabling people with reduced mobility to use aeroplane seats safely, comfortably, and with dignity. easyJet’s adoption of the technology makes the seat the first such product to be used by a major airline.
In the busy four months since winning awards, Josh has started evolving his start-up into a fully-fledged business in partnership with Sir Stelios and his easy family of brands by securing a brand license deal and private investment.
Josh, who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, says he faces many physical challenges himself, but is determined to help disabled people overcome the difficulties associated with air travel.
“I want to provide a product that I know will help change people’s lives immediately, giving those people the ability to go and adventure the world,” he said.
“The last four months have been a steep learning curve but a highly rewarding one too. My life has changed completely — before winning the award I had to move house within the private sector which came with many challenges, to finding myself in a position where I am shipping easyTravelseats and looking to expand the business to a global reach.
“A great moment for me was being invited back to my old uni to speak to students about entrepreneurship and inspire them to start their own businesses.”
Josh is also training and inspiring to get a spot within the Great Britain Paralympic shooting team with the hope of one day competing at a Paralympic game.
The easyTravelseat, made by Josh Wintersgill’s company AbleMove in partnership with easy family of brands, is now available for order through the easyTravelseat website.
You can see the easyTravelseat in action in the video below: