PARALYSED yachtsman Geoff Holt (Wetwheels), Paralympian swimmer Andrew Gilbey (Gilbey Films) and hearing impaired Anna Wilkinson (More Rehab) head up the finalists for next week’s Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs 2015, one of the most unique and prestigious prizes for entrepreneurs in the UK.
The award recognizes the unique achievements of disabled entrepreneurs and offers a £50,000 cash prize to the winner – the largest cash sum of its kind in the UK.
Sir Stelios, pictured, said: “All three finalists have proven that tenacity, business acumen and passion can really pay off. Previous finalists and winners of this award offer proof there are many highly talented disabled entrepreneurs out there.
“With around 50 per cent of disabled adults out of work it is clear that there still is a long way to go.
“Removing the barriers disabled people face in business is essential, and I hope that the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs goes some way to highlighting their achievements.”
Tony Adamson, Leonard Cheshire Disability’s Managing Director of Enterprise and Innovation, said: “We’re so thrilled Geoff, Anna and Andrew are the top three for this prestigious award – getting to this point is testimony to their hard work and determination. All of our finalists offer motivation to other, and we wish them all the very best of luck.”
The winner will be announced at a special awards ceremony to be held in London on Wednesday 4 November.
The finalists’ companies are:
Wetwheels 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 (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. www.wetwheels.co.uk
Gilbey Films, created by founder Andy Gilbert, specializes in disability access films. The company makes short films for venues and attractions, hotels and hospitals, to use on their websites to showcase their accessible features and facilities. The company’s clients have included the Houses of Parliament, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, London Zoo, Whitechapel Gallery, DisabledGo and the five star W Hotel. The group also make disability awareness training films for organisations such as Transport for London, VisitScotland and Parliamentary Outreach, and diversity showreels for the BBC. www.gilbeyfilms.com
More Rehab Ltd provides rehabilitation for clients with disabilities which are as a result of birth trauma, traumatic accidents and injuries as well as medical conditions. The company offers physiotherapy, aquatic therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy and assistive technology In the last year the group has increased its capacity for more clients by taking over a practice based in Derbyshire and opened a new purpose built rehabilitation centre in Doncaster. www. morerehab.com