Serial entrepreneur Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is passionate about education, entrepreneurship and the environment and likes to involve himself in projects that will make a difference to people's lives and inspire others. As such, in association with Leonard Cheshire Disability he is the sponsor of The Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs.
Established in 2007, the first Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs was granted to entrepreneur Amar Latif of Traveleyes, a tour operator for the visually impaired. Amar established his business in 2005 with the aim of helping blind people experience world travel. Sighted travellers join the visually impaired on trips to destinations including Cuba, Canada, Italy and Spain, acting as their 'eyes' by describing their surroundings. Since the injection of the £50,000 prize from Stelios, Traveleyes has expanded into new markets across the world.
The winner of the 2008 award went to Andrew Thomson 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. The £50,000 prize money was used to continue the growth of the business, enabling it to reach out to new clients and expand its service to existing customers.
Applications for the 2009 award will close on Friday 4th September 2009 and the award will be presented on Thursday 26th November 2009 at the Growing Business Awards at the London Marriott Hotel.
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