easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and leading international charity Leonard Cheshire  have announced the five finalists for the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs 2018.

Each has won £10,000 and now has a chance to win a further £20,000.

A record amount of 82 candidates applied for the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs this year — up 12.5% from 2017.

The applications came from a diverse mix of sectors, including fashion, retail, sport and leisure and tourism.

The five finalists are:

  • Joshua Wintergill from Bristol, whose adaptable sling for wheelchair users, offers comfort, dignity and safety while flying; ablemove.co.uk
  • Mark Williams from Denbigh, who can fashion a bespoke design for amputees with limb-art.com
  • Nick Lock from Barnstaple, Devon, whose business trevisickpie.co.uk offers the finest traditional fare
  • Rachel Shapey from Stockport, who has designed composition software to be used in all levels of secondary education; icancompose.com
  • Samona Williams, from London, who has established a chocolate gift business that dazzles through cocoatothrill.com

The overall winner will win £30,000 and an additional four shortlisted applicants will each get £10,000.

The award, jointly run by the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation and the charity Leonard Cheshire, started 12 years ago and recognises the achievements of disabled entrepreneurs in the UK.

Past winners have been drawn from the travel agency, building and IT sectors as well as businesses specialising in disability and mobility aids and services.

Sir Stelios said:

‘This job gets infinitely more difficult by the year. Trying to select five fantastic finalists from over 80 incredible competitors has yet again proven to be a serious challenge.

‘So I’m very grateful to Leonard Cheshire and their judging panel for taking on this task and coming up with a shortlist of outstanding entrepreneurs ranging from a pie man to a software developer. Their £10,000 cash prizes have been well earned.

‘Now it’s down to me and my fellow trustees to select one absolutely stand out entrant to receive the top prize of £30,000. I know it will be a difficult choice.’

The 2018 winner will be announced on Wednesday 14 November.

Find out more here: http://bit.ly/2AtcqtH