Sir Stelios picks five finalists for national entrepreneur award
EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and leading international charity Leonard Cheshire Disability announced the five finalists for the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs 2016.Each finalist has won £10,000 and now has a chance to win a further £20,000.
Each finalist has won £10,000 and now has a chance to win a further £20,000. A record amount of candidates applied for the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs this year.
A record amount of candidates applied for the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs this year.
The applications came from diverse business areas, including documentary makers, software application developers, night photographers, vintage ice-cream makers, fashion designers and accessible playground designers.
Sir Stelios said: ‘The interest in this year’s award — on our tenth anniversary — highlights the role entrepreneurs can take in helping combat unemployment among disabled people.
‘The sheer range of business ideas submitted this year will mean me and my team are going to have a challenging but immensely rewarding task ahead of us.’
The five finalists include Andrew Graham, Alex Papanikolaou, Matt Wadsworth, Scott Smith and Dave Kelly.
Andrew Graham from Newcastle, whose business Pop-Up Gym provides rehabilitation and fitness for people by bringing the gym to them. The company provides a fun and pleasant environment for clients to exercise without feeling self-conscious.
Alex Papanikolaou from Glasgow, whose business provides training — including access audits and equality and inclusiveness consultations. Alex has also developed the Freedom One Wheelchair.
Matt Wadsworth from Norwich created the Good Food Talks app which reads menus for blind and visually impaired people. It is already used around the UK by chains such as Carluccio’s, Côte, Nando’s and Pret á Manger.
Scott Smith from Wolverhampton , whose business Invictus Active provides products to help disabled people keep active on a daily basis. Their products include accessible bikes and the ‘Invictus Active Trainer’ which helps wheelchair users to improve fitness, balance and technique.
Liverpool-based Dave Kelly’s organisation, Daisy UK, runs sports courses for schools, colleges and after school clubs, among other organisations. It also offers pan-disability sports clubs.
The overall winner will win £30,000 and the additional 4 shortlisted applicants will each get £10,000.
The award, jointly run by the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation and the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability, started 10 years ago, recognising the achievements of disabled entrepreneurs in the UK.
Tony Adamson, head of programmes, enterprise and innovation at Leonard Cheshire, said: ‘At a time when less than half the disabled working-age people in the UK have jobs, starting your own company is looking increasingly attractive.‘You can manage your time and create your own vision. We look forward to looking through the exciting and innovative business ideas from around the UK.’
‘You can manage your time and create your own vision. We look forward to looking through the exciting and innovative business ideas from around the UK.’
Past winners have been drawn from the travel, building and IT sectors, as well as businesses specialising in disability or mobility aids and services.
The winner will be announced on Thursday 10 November 2016.
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