Sir Stelios picks Norwich business for finalist in national awards
28 October 2016
EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and leading international charity Leonard Cheshire Disability announced today Matt Wadsworth and his company Good Food Talks from Norwich has won £10,000 and a place as a finalist in the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs 2016.
Good Food Talks is an online platform and app for smart phones which reads menus for blind and visually impaired people. It is used around the UK by chains such as Carluccios, Cote, Nandos and Pret á Manger.
Matt Wadsworth, who started his company three years ago, said he got the idea because he is blind and was always relying on other people to read restaurant menus for him.
He started the company by investing £3,000 of his own money to create and test the business, which now has over 1500 venues to choose from and access to over 100.000 users in the UK.
Matt Wadsworth said:
‘We are hugely flattered to have been picked as one of the finalists for this year’s Stelios awards.
‘Getting a successful and sustainable business off the ground is no mean feat and this sort of recognition could not have come at a better time.’
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.
Matt joins four other candidates:
- Dave Kelly, Daisy UK
- Andrew Graham, Pop-Up Gym
- Scott Smith, Invictus Active
- 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.