Stelios opens 11th annual award for disabled entrepreneurs

The search has begun for this year's Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs in the UK.

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou says disability is 'no barrier to a successful future'. Picture: Andrew Parsons/PA Wire

The scheme, which is now in its 11th year, offers a top prize of £30,000 and mentoring from EasyJet founder and serial entrepreneur Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, with prizes of £10,000 for the other four finalists.

All forms of entrepreneurship and planned business activity in the UK, which are at least partly owned by disabled people, are eligible to apply.

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The organisers said that they were also keen to hear from past applicants. The awards are jointly run by the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation and the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability.

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 that disability is certainly no barrier to a successful future.”

Last year’s main 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.

Papanikolaou said: “The award has directly made our prototype development plans possible.”