Event Review: The Stelios Disabled Entrepreneur Awards

Ed Price recently spoke at The Stelios Disabled Entrepreneur Awards, and explains more about the Awards and the winners.

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking at the Stelios Disabled Entrepreneur Awards event in the beautiful surrounds of the Royal Chelsea Hospital. The event was held in partnership with Leonard Cheshire Disability who have a long history of supporting disabled people to fulfil their potential. These awards recognise those with disabilities who have demonstrated exceptional entrepreneurial spirit and business ability in the face of significant barriers. The overall winner wins £30,000 and each finalist wins £10,000, as well as mentoring from Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of easyJet.

The Awards are in their 11th year now, and are open to all forms of entrepreneurship, even those without a registered company, people planning to start a business activity, as well as charities and social enterprises.

The Stelios Awards are about more than celebrating individual achievements and successes. They also send a strong and positive message about the abilities, ambitions and achievements of disabled people starting up, and being successful in, their own businesses.

It was great share the platform with last year’s winner Alex Papanikolaou: www.Freedomonelife.com. Alex is from Glasgow, and his business provides training, including access audits and equality and inclusiveness consultations. Alex has also developed the Freedom One Wheelchair, a cutting edge power chair. Since winning the award last year, Alex has continued to grow his business, and earlier this summer, our then-Minister for Disabled People, Penny Mordaunt, was pleased to share the stage with Alex at the Global Disability Innovation Hub Summit in Stratford.

Having seen what each of the finalists have achieved, it must have been a challenge for Stelios to select this year’s winner. To be a successful entrepreneur in any field demands imagination, dedication and a lot of hard work. Each of the five finalists have demonstrated an impressive amount of innovation, commitment and skill.

Technology plays a key part in each finalist’s business. That may be because their product is a mobile app or website or involves assistive technology, because they rely on online sales, or because their success is firmly supported by their online presence, blogs and social media.

So I’d like to congratulate Hannah, James, Catherine, Jane and Dominic for showing us all just what can be achieved.

The stories of the five finalists really come alive in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oO9UHJpNx4c&feature=youtu.be


WINNER: Hannah Chamberlain: www.mentalsnapp.com

Hannah, from London, is co-founder and acting CEO of Mental Snapp and originated the concept as a result of 20 years’ experience of working with mental health and film. Mental Snapp is an app which helps people to manage their mental health, by recording short video diaries, rating their own mood and naming their feelings, to enable reflection and self-awareness.

James Brown: www.mobiloo.org.uk

With a wealth of knowledge, stemming from his time cycling for Ireland in the Paralympics and creating/managing the UK's “most accessible mainstream hotel”, James, from Wiltshire, now manages Mobiloo. Mobiloo is the world’s first mobile attended changing places facility. Mobiloo is passionate about equality, inclusion and accessibility.

Katherine Fortnum: www.katherinefortnumceramics.com

Katherine, from Leicestershire, is owner of Katherine Fortnum Ceramics. She creates unique ceramic sculptures, homewares, jewellery and accessories, taking her inspiration from elements in nature, all hand built with one hand. Katherine also runs Ceramics Workshops, teaching a variety of techniques and items.

Jane Hatton: www.evenbreak.co.uk

Jane, from London, founded the Evenbreak job board in 2011. Jane is determined to promote fairness, and find great people to work for Evenbreak. She has a degenerative spinal condition which means she mostly works lying down with a laptop suspended above her. Evenbreak helps talented disabled candidates and inclusive employers (including the John Lewis Partnership, Lloyds Banking Group and BBC Digital) to find each other.

Dominic Lund-Conlon: www.reviewmywheelchair.co.uk

Dominic, from Essex, is founder of Review My Wheelchair, which provides unbiased and clear reviews for wheelchair users to support their decision when purchasing a wheelchair.

Jasmin Khanom