10 disabled entrepreneurs

Each year, we team up with the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation to run a competition for disabled entrepreneurs to win funding for their businesses from easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

In 2019, 10 entrepreneurs won prizes ranging from £5,000 to £30,000.

We are all in it together, to build a more healthier minded deaf community that can fit more freely in society at large. Let’s continue to break down the walls of silence.

Victoria Nelson, Deaf4Deaf
Group photo of 2019 Stelios Award winners with Leonard Cheshire CEO Neil Heslop and easyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou

Victoria Nelson

Victoria secured our top prize of £30,000 with her company Deaf4Deaf.

Deaf4deaf is the UK’s first sign language counselling service. Victoria’s team, who are based around the country, offer sessions in person or via video call and support people in the UK, Ireland, Australia, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

NHS trusts, doctors, and insurance companies have now started recommending Deaf4Deaf to patients in the UK.

Sophia Wyatt

Sophia was one our four runners-up. She secured £10,000 for her business – Sophia Wyatt Aesthetics.

Sophia uses her skills and experience from the world of make-up and beauty to help people affected by conditions including scarring and hair loss become happier with how they look.

Sophia, who previously worked with stars like James McAvoy and Keira Knightley, was inspired by her experiences in hospital with meningitis as a teenager to help others. 

Mike Wood MBE

Mike secured £10,000 for his business – Dinghies for Disabled.

Mike, who competed for Great Britain in shot, javelin, discus, archery, and the triathlon, has pioneered a new kind of sailing dinghy designed to be safer, more comfortable and more affordable for disabled people.

The dinghies are built in such a way that they cannot capsize or sink and will enable disabled sailors to take part in training and regattas.

Steve Holyer

Steve was one of the four runners up. He secured £10,000 for his business – ADI Access RoomMate

ADI Access RoomMate is a device which is installed on the wall just inside a toilet. It provides a recorded description of the fixtures and fittings, where they are and how they operate including the emergency call system.

It helps those who need it to navigate and understand their surroundings.

Sarah Griffiths

Sarah came runner up with her businesses – Mastery in Motion. She secured £10,000 for her business.

Mastery in Motion is a series of workshops designed to empower people and help them lead their best life.

She aims to empower disabled people to see beyond limitations and, in her own words, 'create a life that lights them up'.

Sarah’s eventful life has seen her have two children, go travelling, and take on skydives for charity.

Jennifer Lake

Jennifer bagged £5,000 for her company – Bug Grip.

Bug Grip a clamping system to attach items to a wheelchair or scooter such as luggage or trolleys.

Jennifer calls it 'a spare pair of hands' and would retail the product for £15-20.

George Baker

By being shortlisted, George's business Accessible Media secured itself £5,000 funding.

Accessible Media is a digital marketing agency run by and for disabled people.

With a staff of 20, the agency offers accessible marketing from end to end as well as English to Spanish translation.

Colin Horne

Colin was shortlisted with his company Hearing Diagnostics Ltd.

Hearing Diagnostics Ltd is a health-tech startup developing new ways to screen for early signs of hearing loss. Their prototype can be used by people with no training within two minutes.

Dr. Jenny Tillotson

Jenny secured £5,000 for her business eScent.

eScent is a wearable and personal scent devise that omits different fragrances based on needs and moods.

The refillable device is designed to be worn near the nose and is small enough to be embedded in jewellery, buttons, or headphones.

River Hawkins

River secured £10,000 for with our Judge's Prize with HUMEN

Our Judge's Prize was for an outstanding entry that didn't strictly fit the criteria. 

HUMEN is a movement to improve men’s mental health and provide safe spaces for people to talk, starting with South Bank on Wednesdays.

River has also produced short films to raise awareness of mental health featuring actors such as Andrew Scott and Bill Nighy.