Business people with disabilities or a long term health condition have a fortnight left to apply for this year’s Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs in the UK.
The award, run by the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation and Leonard Cheshire Disability, recognises the achievements of, and unique challenges faced by, disabled entrepreneurs. Now in its seventh year, the award offers a £50,000 cash prize to the winner – the largest cash sum of its kind. Past winners include start-up companies dedicated to assisted travel for blind or visually impaired people, interactive music sessions aimed at young children and providing disabled “extras” for film/TV productions.
Entrants have to satisfy the following criteria:
– Having a recognised disability or long term health condition (as determined by the Equality Act 2010)
– Having at least a 25% management stake in a UK-based company
– Having a turnover in excess of £10,000
– Trading record of between one and five years
Applicants have until 5pm on Friday 25th October to apply for the award or alternatively be nominated by family or friends (subject to consent). The three stage assessment process consists of an external judging panel (Paul Nicoll – Senior Relationship Manager, Triodos Bank, Dr Nasser Siabi OBE – CEO & co-founder, Microlink and Paul Barry-Walsh – Chairman, Fredericks Foundation) drawing up a shortlist of ten, from which three finalists will be chosen to make a presentation to Sir Stelios, who will then pick a winner.
He/she will be presented with a cheque at a special ceremony in London on 12 December, where past and present competition finalists will be present. Last year’s winners Dave Hawkins and Stuart Dunne, both paraplegic, were singled out by Sir Stelios for their business acumen, entrepreneurial drive and determination to meet sales targets. The cash prize has allowed their company, Cyclone Technologies, to expand its range of mobility aids with the addition of walking suits and high-spec wheelchairs.
Sir Stelios said: “When Leonard Cheshire Disability approached me seven years ago I decided I wanted to work with them to reward entrepreneurial talent amongst disabled people.”
“It’s very difficult to start up a business at the best of times, but over the years our applicants have showed that not only are they able to meet this challenge during a tough economic climate, but they have overcome the barriers they face as disabled entrepreneurs as well. There have been some truly remarkable winners.”
“We want to hear from talented disabled entrepreneurs who are able to show they have got what it takes to run a successful business and meet a real need in the market.”
Helen Carter, Managing Director of Enterprise and Innovation at Leonard Cheshire Disability, said: “We are keen to encourage as many applications as possible, so why not give it a go and apply? Or if you know someone you think fits the bill please spread the word and encourage them to enter. This prestigious award is open to anyone with a long term health condition or disability, including physical, visual or hearing impairments, mental health conditions and learning disabilities like dyslexia and dyspraxia. There is still time to apply for this prestigious award and you could end up winning a £50,000 boost for your business.”
To download an application form visit www.lcdisability.org/stelios or call 0845 671 7173 (option 1). Alternative formats are available on request.
Leonard Cheshire Disability is the UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of services for disabled people. Our services include high-quality care and community support together with innovative projects supporting disabled people into education, employment and entrepreneurship. Worldwide, our global alliance of Cheshire partners supports disabled people into education and employment, and works in more than 50 countries. Visit www.LCDisability.org
The Stelios Philanthropic Foundation is committed to dynamic philanthropy: making a positive, exponential difference through funding, inspiring and advising educational, entrepreneurial and environmental initiatives. Its other UK activities include the award of scholarships to 40 students attending the London School of Economics and Cass Business School. To find out more visit; www.stelios.com