Andrew Thomson wins £50,000 Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs 2008
02 December 2008 posted by JBP
Andrew Thomson won the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs 2008, run by charity Leonard Cheshire Disability, at the Chamber of Commerce Business Awards Ceremony in London.
Andrew, 44, from Grangemouth in Scotland is a director of Sign-now.com, a web based video conferencing translation service which enables deaf people to communicate with the hearing public. Andrew has been profoundly deaf since birth and uses British Sign Language as his main means of communication.
Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, of easyGroup presented the £50,000 prize to Andrew.
Sir Stelios said: "I am passionate about encouraging the enterprising spirit and working with Leonard Cheshire Disability to set up the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs.
"I would like to congratulate Andrew, he runs a successful business and displays the drive, creativity and determination to reach the top and really fly. The £50,000 prize will ensure Sign-now.com has a great platform for growth.
"With around 50 per cent of disabled adults out of work, removing the barriers disabled people face in business is essential. Self-employment is a more viable option for many disabled people as it offers flexibility and helps bypass much of the prejudice that sadly still exists amongst employers."
Andrew Thomson said: "It's a great honour to have won this fantastic award and to have Sign-now.com recognised in this way.
There are only 25 full time BSL interpreters in Scotland for 7,000 sign language users. This places a huge demand for skilled communicators. With an online facility like Sign-now.com it gives those with hearing impairments the opportunity to access an interpreter quickly and easily.
"The £50,000 will be used to expand Sign-now.com which will mean we can grow our business, reach our to new clients and expand our services to existing customers.
"For the business to grow, it is all about gaining the confidence of not only of our clients but the trust and support of the interpreters we employ. I believe that a positive approach is the way to overcome the fear, prejudice and misconception that often stand in the way of disabled people."
Anna Cooper, Leonard Cheshire Disability Corporate Development Manager said: "Disabled people in business experience disadvantage and discrimination every day, largely through ignorance, and this needs to change.
"Our partnership with Sir Stelios is helping the charity highlight the barriers disabled people face in the workplace and recognise the outstanding achievement of disabled entrepreneurs. Leonard Cheshire Disability leads the way with innovative initiatives and campaigns that challenge people to change the way they see disability, and this award plays a big part in this."
You can filter the news items on this website to view stories based in individual countries simply by clicking the flag below...