Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs in the UK

Stelios awards for disabled entrepreneurs UK 2016This unique and prestigious award is sponsored by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the renowned entrepreneur best known for founding easyJet.

The creation of the award was motivated by Stelios’s goal of not only supporting disabled entrepreneurs, but also raising awareness of the skills and inventiveness of those with disabilities.

2016 award

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the award, the total cash prizes are bigger than ever!

A total of £70,000 will be won:

  • top prize of £30,000 to the overall winner
  • four prizes of £10,000 to four other finalists

And this year the award was open to all forms of entrepreneurship (including pre-revenue start-ups).

We invited applications from entrepreneurs who started their companies in the UK in the last 7 years (2009 or later).

However, all forms of entrepreneurial activities even without a registered company would have qualified. And this year people planning to start a business activity (even with just business plans at the pre-revenue stage) were welcome to apply. 

The applicants had to be registered as disabled and own at least half of the business.

Past winners and applicants were welcome to reapply.

2016 finalists

Andrew Graham — Pop-Up Gym

Pop-Up Gym provides rehabilitation and fitness for people by bringing the gym to them. The company provides a fun and pleasant environment for clients to exercise without feeling self-conscious.

Alex Papanikolaou

Alex's business provides training — including access audits and equality and inclusiveness consultations. Alex has also developed the Freedom One Wheelchair.

Matt Wadsworth

Matt created an app which reads menus for blind and visually impaired people. It is already used around the UK by chains such as Carluccio’s, Côte, Nando’s and Pret á Manger.

Scott Smith — Invictus Active

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.

Dave Kelly — Daisy UK

Daisy UK runs sports courses for schools, colleges and after school clubs, among other organisations. It also offers pan-disability sports clubs.

Find out more details about the finalists in the official 2016 press release.

The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on 10 November 2016 at the Royal Chelsea Hospital in London.

There is also a group on Facebook to discuss everything to do with this year's award.

The 2015 winner

Last year's winner was Geoff Holt MBE of Wetwheels.

Geoff Holt at the wheel in his accessible boatWetwheels is a Community Interest Company (CIC) run out of Portsmouth, operates fully accessible boats to provide boating opportunities for people of all ages and abilities.

Run by Geoff Holt MBE (the first paralysed person to sail around single-handed around Great Britain) the company offers disabled clients educational and mentoring programmes, along with sporting and recreational trips on the sea.

The runners up

Three finalists are selected each year for the award. In 2015, the two runners up were:

In a surpise announcement on the night of the award ceremony Sir Stelios generously decided to award both of the runners up £10,000.

You can find out more about all of this year's amazing finalists by watching them talk about what inspired them to start their businesses.