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£50,000 competition launched to find disabled entrepreneur

Posted Jun 07 2010 9:12am

SteliosHajiIoannou.jpg

From today, the search for disabled entrepreneur of the year begins - with a first prize of £50,000 offered.

This major award, run by Leonard Cheshire Disability and sponsored by easyGroup Chairman Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou (pictured), was presented in 2009 to John Pickup and his company Amputees in Action, a business that specialises in supplying amputee extras and stuntmen for film, television and for forces casualty training.

The 2010 winner will receive a cheque at the Growing Business Awards in London on November 25.

Sir Stelios said: "I am very passionate about encouraging an enterprising spirit and decided to work with Leonard Cheshire Disability to set up the award in 2007.

“We received a terrific response last year from disabled entrepreneurs all over the UK and as one of the judges I was amazed by the high standard of entries. Arriving at a shortlist proved a difficult task just because there are so many talented entrepreneurs out there.

“With 50 per cent of disabled adults out of work, removing barriers disabled people face in business is essential. Self employment is the only viable option for many disabled people as it offers flexibility and helps bypass much of the prejudice that sadly still exists."

John Pickup said: “It was hard to find words to describe my emotions when the announcer said I had won last year. £50,000 has meant I’ve been able to invest in my business and over 12 months put in a lot of hard work to watch it grow. Winning the award and the support I have received from the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation and Leonard Cheshire Disability has given Amputees in Action kudos and more importantly confidence to succeed."

“Disabled people experience disadvantage and discrimination in business and enterprise everyday, largely through ignorance and this needs to change."

To find out how to enter visit www.disabledentrepreneur.org . The closing date for entries is Friday 3 September.

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