Mike Wood MBE image
Mike Wood MBE

A business offering coaching for disabled people, a beautician and an audio-description device are among the top five finalists for this year’s Stelios Awards for Disabled Entrepreneurs.

The Stelios Awards for Disabled Entrepreneurs is jointly run by disability charity Leonard Cheshire and the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation, which recognises the achievements of disabled entrepreneurs who have set up their own company or social enterprise.

A record 88 applicants applied to the prestigious awards this year, up 10 percent from previous years. Instagram influencers, fashionistas and bakers were among the hopefuls vying for start-up money from Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, Founder of easyJet.

The top five short-listed entrepreneurs are competing for a share of the largest pot of money yet offered by Sir Stelios: a total of £100,000 in prizes.

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Each of the finalists on the shortlist have won £10,000, and are now in the running for a top prize of £30,000. Four other lucky finalists will win £5,000.

The top five shortlisted are:

  • Sarah Griffiths, whose Mastery in Motion business offers coaching and empowerment lessons for disabled people. Sarah offers online courses and published a book while building her business:
  • Steve Holyer and ADI Access, who created RoomMate as an aid to audio-describe environments for blind and visually-impaired people. RoomMate has already been adopted at numerous international airports and railway stations. It was inspired by Steve Holyer’s experiences.
  • Mike Wood, a former Paralympian, whose Dinghies for Disabled business aims to help up to 60,000 disabled people get into sailing.
  • Sophia Wyatt, who founded a cosmetic business for people with pigmentation conditions and scarring, Sophia Wyatt Aesthetics, from her garage, taking inspiration from her own experiences
  • Victoria Nelson, who created the first online counselling service for (D)deaf people, and offers fully-signed mental health workshops in person and online

Last year’s winner of the Stelios Awards for Disabled Entrepreneurs was Josh Wintersgill, a Bristol-based inventor who created easyTravelseat, a sling to help air passengers with wheelchairs transfer while flying.

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