Sir Stelios picks Wolverhampton business for finalist in national awards
27 October 2016
EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and leading international charity Leonard Cheshire Disability announced today Scott Smith from Wolverhampton has won £10,000 and a place as a finalist in the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs 2016.
Scott’s 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.
‘The initial idea came from my co-founder Paul trying to lose weight. Fitness equipment for wheelchair users was not easy to find so we developed our own product, the Invictus Active Trainer, a treadmill for wheelchairs!’
Scott says being an entrepreneur gives him the freedom to take any idea and turn it into a reality.
‘I’m competitive by nature and like to win, whether this is in business or on a tennis court.
‘I’m excited by what winning the award will allow us to do and how we can fast forward all the ideas we have around inclusive fitness.
‘The exposure and funding would help us develop our new products and mobile app.’
The judges said the competition was particularly tough this year, following a record number of applications with business ideas including documentary makers, phone and 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 our 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.’
Each finalist has won £10,000. The winner will win a further £20,000, making the overall top prize £30,000.
Scott joins four other candidates:
- Dave Kelly, Daisy UK
- Andrew Graham, Pop-Up Gym
- Matthew Wadsworth, Good Food Talks
- Alex Papanikolaou, Freedom One Life
A total of £70,000 in cash prizes will be won this year — making a grand total of £570,000 since 2006.
The award, jointly run by the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation and the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability, recognises the achievements of disabled entrepreneurs in 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 10 November 2016.
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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. With over 7,500 staff, the charity supports over 7,000 disabled people in the UK.
The Stelios Philanthropic Foundation is a registered charity in both Monaco and the UK and backs a number of charitable initiatives supporting entrepreneurship, education and the environment in the UK, Greece and Cyprus. Its ‘Food from the Heart’ programme recently handed out its one millionth free lunchtime snack to beneficiaries in Greece and Cyprus worst hit by the financial crisis in southern Europe.