Mark Esho MBE has launched a new charity to provide funding, business support and time for disabled people who want to start their own businesses.
The Circle Foundation aims to give back to the UK disabled community and provide them with the help and support that Mark never received when he started his career in business.
Mark, who is based in Leicester, has been disabled for the majority of his life, after contracting polio at the age of five and being given a 10% chance of survival. But he did survive – and despite consistent setbacks, he has defied the odds to become the successful businessman he is today.
Setting up a business is hard. Setting up a business when you’re disabled is even more difficult. There are so many barriers to entry, beyond just prejudice towards disabled people.
The aim of The Circle Foundation is to empower disabled entrepreneurs with a ‘circle’ of support, building their skills and confidence to make their business a reality. The charity also works to promote disability equality by encouraging its beneficiaries to ‘pay it forward’, offering support to others who are at the beginning of their entrepreneurial journey.
The idea for The Circle Foundation came to Mark while he was helping a friend to launch a disability accessibility company. In just two years, the professional and personal changes he’s seen in his friend have been phenomenal.
At the time, he was struggling to come to terms with his disability which was making him depressed. The work he has done with Mark during this time has had a huge impact on his mental health and he’s now the owner of a thriving business. It was through his successes that Mark decided he’d like to set up a foundation to help others.
Each year, The Circle Foundation will accept one budding entrepreneur onto the programme, providing up to £50,000 of cash and in-kind business assistance over the course of a year.
The package includes full personal support from Mark and the Circle Team – a dynamic pool of business, web development, finance, and creative professionals, all dedicated to helping our entrepreneur realise their potential.
Mark Esho, Founder of The Circle Foundation said “When I first started in business, I wasn’t taken seriously. As such, my first business failed and I was left unable to pay my mortgage payments while trying to support my young family.
A lot has happened since then and I am thankful that now I’m in a position where I can help others. I’m passionate about creating better opportunities for disabled people like me and seeing how, with the right help and support, they too can achieve amazing things and make their business dreams a reality.
The Circle Foundation is all about giving back to the disabled community – and just like a circle is infinite, with no end, there is no end to what disabled people can achieve when we are given the right opportunities.”
Business support organisations are usually diluted to reach as many people as possible, and many start-ups can fail to thrive as a result. The Circle Foundation takes a different approach. They wrap around one entrepreneur with a fully comprehensive programme to support them through the challenges that disabled people typically face.
You can apply online until 31 August 2022 via: