The Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs in the UK 2017

18 July 2017

  • First prize: a top prize of £30,000 and mentoring from Sir Stelios.
  • Prizes of £10,000 for other four finalists.
  • The deadline for all applications is midnight Friday 6 October 2017.
  • Run with Leonard Cheshire Disability, the UK’s leading disability charity.
  • Awards cocktail reception on 14 November in central London.

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and Leonard Cheshire Disability are proud to announce the 2017 Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs in the UK.

Applications are open from today 18 July 2017.

The award is now in its eleventh year.

All forms of entrepreneurship / planned business activity (even start-ups) in the UK, which are at least partly owned by disabled people, are eligible to apply.

We are also keen to hear from past applicants.

The criteria are:

  • The award is open to candidates operating in the UK only.
  • The award is open to registered and not-yet-registered companies, charities and social enterprises.
  • A disabled entrepreneur must own at least 50% of the company.
  • The company must be at most seven years old.
  • The candidate must have an active online presence.

The award, jointly run by the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation and the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability, started in 2006, recognises the achievements of disabled entrepreneurs who have set up their own company and excel in their chosen business field. 

Sir Stelios said:

‘Last year we got over 60 applications from disabled entrepreneurs dedicated to starting and running successful businesses — serving all sections of the community.

‘This time not only are we looking to get this number well up on 2016 but also we want to see some great new ideas that take the business world by storm and show disability is certainly no barrier to a successful future.’

Last year's Stelios Award winner, Alex Papanikolaou, from Glasgow, applied twice before winning with his Freedom One Life design of a next generation power wheelchair. He is joining this year’s panel of judges for the award. 

Alex said:

‘We were so lucky to have been the 2016 winners with our wheelchair design.

‘The award has directly made our prototype development plans possible and propelled us forward, so we are very grateful.’

Leonard Cheshire Disability’s chief executive Neil Heslop said:

‘The economic impact of disabled people in the UK is generally poorly understood with the disability market being worth an estimated £249 billion a year.

‘Yet nearly 50% of working age adults with a disability are unemployed.

‘The candidates for this award send a strong message about the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit of disabled people by challenging prejudices to achieve independence by building successful businesses.’

Past winners have been drawn from the travel agency, building and IT sectors as well as businesses specialising in disability or mobility aids and services.

The winners will be presented with the award at a cocktail reception in London on 14 November 2017.

For full details on eligibility, and an application form please visit the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation Facebook page or Leonard Cheshire webpage.

You can also call 07740 515 957. Alternative application formats are available on request. Closing date for applications is midnight on Friday 6 October 2017. 

If you need extra support with your application please email Leonard Cheshire or call 07740 515 957.

Media enquiries

For media enquiries please email Bethany Ditzel or call 020 2242 0204. Out of hours: 07903 949 388. General press office number: 020 3242 0399. 

To contact the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation please email Richard Shackleton or call 07905 779 799. You can also email Tracy Ghori or call 07900 606 557.

Notes to editors

  • 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 which backs a number of charitable initiatives in the UK, Greece and Cyprus. The Foundation gives support in four main areas: scholarships, supporting entrepreneurship with cash prizes, donating money to environmental and other charities and operating a poverty relief programme in Greece and Cyprus — ‘Food from the heart’.
  • Stelios also joins the group of philanthropists led by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet who pledge to give the majority of their wealth to charity. This group was started in 2010, and now has 168 signatories from 21 countries. Stelios is the first Greek/Cypriot and the first resident of Monaco to join.