The Stelios Awards are in their fifteenth year. This year, three businesses all with disabled entrepreneurs at the helm will share prizes worth £100K. Here, we showcase the amazing award winners from 2022.
Metal Polishing Supplies UK Ltd – First place
From small beginnings in 2008, Metal Polishing Supplies UK Ltd has become the UK’s leading supplier of professional and DIY metal polishing kits, metal polishing machines, polishing mops and buffing wheels, metal polishing compounds, metal polishes and related metal polishing accessories and power tools.
Founded by disabled entrepreneur Joe Waggott 15 years ago, the company has developed a range of quality metal polishing kits for Aluminium, Brass, Copper, Alloys, Chrome, Steel and Stainless Steel that will run on a standard electric drill, angle grinder, car sander polisher or for heavier polishing requirements, on a bench grinder.
Part of the range is also dedicated to jewellery polishing, which includes polishing kits for gold and silver that will either run off a rotary hobby tool such as a Dremel style rotary hobby tool or a bench grinder.
It also stocks and supplies all the spares and consumables for all the kits, which are assembled to order in the UK.
Over the years the company has developed a client base of thousands of satisfied customers from around the world including the United States, Ireland, France, Italy, Malta, Greece, Spain, Portugal and as far away as South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Honolulu.
The company guarantee that all its products are of the highest quality and standard and the company’s philosophy is one of customer service and satisfaction. It endeavours to deliver orders timelessly and respond to enquiries as quickly as possible.
Joe Waggott was born with spina bifida and has limited mobility, requiring a walking stick or wheelchair to get around and sometimes working from the comfort of his bed. Ecommerce offers Joseph the flexibility to develop and grow sales from anywhere if he has a laptop and internet connection.
He started with only £35 to his name after fleeing Rhodesia, which is now Zimbabwe, due to political turmoil in 2005.
Joe now owns a successful global business that offers metal polishing supplies and has a turnover of £350,000 and he even has clients as big as former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich who wanted a metal polishing kit for his yacht.
Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm – second place
Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm is a long established grower and retailer based in Catsfield, East Sussex. It is close to the towns of Eastbourne, Hastings, Bexhill and Battle.
It has been members of the British Christmas Tree Growers Association since 1994 but has been growing and supplying Christmas trees for over 30 years.
Its philosophy is simple – provide the best quality trees at the best possible prices. It offers a very high level of customer service and has a loyal customer base who come back to them year after year.
Its home page states: “Come for a tree. Leave with a smile.” Its customers certainly do.
The farm is run by Clive Collins, who is a wheelchair user and won second prize in the UK Stelios Disabled Entrepreneur Awards 2022. Clive finished his SCOTEC Diploma in Forestry in 1982 and planted his first Christmas trees in 1988.
Toby Ballard and Nathanael Thompson help Clive manage the plantations (see photo).
The buzzing, colourful farm shop is managed by Alison Martin, who’s artistic flair and organisational skills were welcomed to the team last year. Emma Laurens organises the trusty delivery team and office.
The company offers a range of Christmas trees including firs, spruces and pot grown trees. You can also buy a range of accessories, lights, decorations, skirts, wreaths and stands. You can either visit its farm or order online.
Clu – 3rd place
A London-based ‘tech for good’ founder has been announced as one of the winners of last year’s Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs.
Neurodiverse entrepreneur Joseph Williams set up inclusive recruitment platform Clu, which aims to democratise the job market by helping organisations re-evaluate what it takes to do a job well and who is capable of doing it.
He was awarded the prize of £10,000 presented by Sir Stelios’ Philanthropic Foundation, which has pioneered the awards for the past 13 years, in partnership with leading disability charity Leonard Cheshire.
Sir Stelios presented the award to Joseph along with Leonard Cheshire’s Chair of Trustees, David Grayson CBE following a competitive application and finalist interview process.
Sir Stelios said:
Joseph and the team at Clu won the award due to their commitment to making the workplace fair and work for everyone, irrelevant of background. In particular, the work they are doing helping displaced refugees gain access to the UK job market is invaluable and made their application really stand out.
Joseph Williams added:
We are very grateful not only for this opportunity from Sir Stelios but also for the recognition of our work. The prize money will go towards further development of the Clu platform and continuing our work with mobilising disenfranchised communities into meaningful work.
How to apply for Stelios Awards 2023
Applications for 2023 are open now and close at 5pm on Friday 14th April 2023. The overall winner will receive their grand prize of £50,000 at an online Awards ceremony via Zoom on Thursday 18th May from 1pm to 2pm. Two runners up will receive prizes of £30,000 and £20,000.
Entrepreneurs will be eligible to apply if:
- They are registered disabled in the UK
- They own at least 50% of a UK registered for-profit company that has filed accounts with UK Companies House showing a turnover (Revenues) in one year of at least £5,000.
We are also donating £20,000 to Leonard Cheshire directly to help with the running of this year’s awards.
For full details on eligibility go to leonardcheshire.org/stelios.
Apply here – APPLICATION FORM Stelios Awards for Disabled Entrepreneurs in the UK 2023 in partnership with Leonard Cheshire.
If you have any questions about your eligibility, email at: SteliosAward@leonardcheshire.org.
All completed application forms should be emailed to email@example.com no later than Friday 14th April 2023 at 5pm.
By The Stelios Awards Team
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