Stelios will present the 2009 winner with the award and a £50,000 personal cheque at the Growing Business Awards, to be held in London on 27 November 2009.
The award, which was launched in 2007, was won last year by Andrew Thomson from Grangemouth in Scotland who runs Sign-now.com, a web-based video conferencing translation service which enables deaf people to communicate with the hearing public.
Commenting on the award, Stelios said: "I am very passionate about encouraging and recognising entrpreneurial spirit, and set up this award with Leonard Cheshire Disability with the aim of seeking out and celebrating business ability.
With 50 per cent of disabled adults in the UK out of work, removing barriers that disabled people face in business is essential. Self-employment is often the only viable option for many disabled people as it offers flexibility and helps bypass much of the prejudice that sadly still exists.
We received a terrific response last year from disabled entrepreneurs from all over the UK and, as one of the judges, I was delighted by the high standard of entries. Arriving at a shortlist proved a difficult task, just because there are so many talented entrepreneurs out there."
Andrew Thomson said: “It was hard to find words to describe my emotions when the announcer said I had won last year. The £50,000 has meant I’ve been able to grow my business, hire a marketing consultant and develop new products to expand my customer base.
For the business to grow it is all about gaining the confidence of not only our clients but also the trust and support of the interpreters we employ - and the money has meant I’ve been able to do just that. I believe that a positive approach is the way to overcome the fear, prejudice and misconceptions that often stand in the way of disabled people. Disabled people experience disadvantage and discrimination in business every day, largely through ignorance, and this needs to change."
To find out how to enter visit www.disabledentrepreneur.org The closing date for entries is 4 September 2009.
The Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs 2009: The Entry Criteria
- We will only accept entries from a person who has a recognised disability. The Disability Discrimination Act guidelines on disability to be followed: The act defines a disabled person as a person with a mental or physical impairment which has a substantial or long term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
- The applicant must be a permanent part of the management team for the business he or she is basing the application on. The applicant must have a personal ownership in the business of not less than 25%.
- The business must have an annual turnover of in excess of £10,000.
- The business must have been trading for more than one year and less than five years from date of entry
- The applicant must be able to produce one set of audited accounts on request
- The award is only open to UK registered businesses.