Awards for disabled entrepreneurs

Are you a budding entrepreneur with a clever business product or service? Have you already started a business or social enterprise, but need a little extra boost to move to the next level? Then the Stelios Awards wants to hear from you!

Stelios Award 2020 update

We have postponed the 2020 Stelios Awards for Disabled Entrepreneurs due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In conjunction with the Stelios Philanthropic foundation, we took the decision to postpone this years’ awards, which help disabled people launch outstanding business ideas, due to the potential risk to applicants. 

But we will be back in 2021 and we look forward to receiving your applications! In the meantime, please do keep in contact with us, via our Facebook community, or email us at

Our bespoke advice phone line will be back in operation in 2021. Stay safe and well.

In lieu of the Awards, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has made a £150,000 donation to Leonard Cheshire’s frontline carers, to help fight the pandemic.

Meet the 2019 winners

Steve Hoyler

Steve Hoyler


Steve Holyer was driven by his frustration at the lack of options for blind and visually impaired people to use so called ‘accessible toilets’ since they were not accessible for him without help from another person.

As a result, he set out to create the RoomMate with his colleagues at ADI Access.  The company was founded in 2014 to develop life-changing technology.

Already adopted by nearly 100 establishments and major airports, the RoomMate is a device which is installed on the wall just inside the toilet facility and 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.

Victoria Nelson

Victoria Nelson


Victoria Nelson, of Walton-on-Thames, founded Deaf4Deaf in June 2016, and in just three years has assembled a large team of sign language therapists who provide mental health counselling to deaf people all over the UK and Ireland. The team, who are based around the country, offer sessions in person or via video call.

NHS trusts and doctors have started recommending Deaf4Deaf to patients in the UK. Victoria also works with a host of insurance companies supporting Deaf people at work, as well as counselling people in Australia, Hong Kong & New Zealand. Deaf4Deaf are also in the process of working with people in India. 

Sarah Griffiths

Sarah Griffiths

Wheelie Momma

Sarah Griffiths, who began running her Mastery in Motion workshops in May this year, is a published children’s writer, magazine editor, and the blogger behind the popular Wheelie Momma site.

Her workshops have been an immediate success, with people from the UK, USA, Europe and Canada signing up in its first few months.

Mike Wood

Mike Wood

Dinghies for Disabled

Mike Wood MBE, 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. Known as the Dinghies for Disabled project, the scheme is due to launch in February 2020 as a not-for-profit. 

Sophia Wyatt

Sophia Wyatt

Sophie 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. 

She realises a long-held ambition which started from a young age. She contracted meningitis as a teenager and lost both her legs and some of her fingers. While in recovery, she met an inspiring make-up artist who visited burns patients at her hospital on her days off to help them recover.

When she left hospital, Sophia trained as make-up artist and worked with celebrities such as Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, but she gradually realised she wanted to use her skills to help people who might be suffering from scarring and other conditions. 

Founding Sophia Wyatt Aesthetics in 2016, Sophia now runs her business from a custom studio at her home and fits her work around caring for her two young children.

Also congratulations to our Judges’ Prize winner — River Hawkins of We Are Humen.

New prizes for 2019

Prize money totalling £100,000 will be available this year. The top prize will be £30,000, and a further four prizes of £10,000 will be allocated to four finalists. Four prizes of £5,000 will also be available.

The overall winner will be announced at a ceremony in London in October 2019.

The Judges' prize

All applications will be considered this year for the newly announced The Judges' Prize. This is a discretionary prize with the maximum of £10,000 chosen by independent judges. It will recognise start-up or running businesses that show exceptional promise, but do not fit the standard awards' criteria.

Who can apply?

We welcome applications from all sectors. From accessible wheelchair devices, to pottery, mental health apps and adapted ice cream vans. Past winners have been drawn from the travel agency, building and IT sectors, as well as businesses specialising in disability/mobility aids and sports.

Please read the eligibility criteria and the terms and conditions carefully before applying.

Past winners

Josh Wintersgill

Joshua Wintersgill

2018 winner

Josh's business (Able Move) has created a portable solution for disabled travellers.

Hannah Chamberlin

Hannah Chamberlain

2017 winner

Hannah is the founder of Mental Snapp — a video diary app that helps people proactively manage their mental health.

Alex Papanikolaou

Alex Papanikolaou

2016 winner

Alex’s business (Freedom One Life) has developed a next-generation power wheelchair.

Geoff Holt MBE

Geoff Holt MBE

2015 winner

Geoff's company (Wetwheels) operates fully accessible boats.

Ben Wolfenden

Ben Wolfenden

2014 winner

Ben's company (Visibilis) offers digital marketing expertise.