easyJet founder backs two new mobility equipment solutions

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An adaptable sling and a prosthetics design firm are two concepts to have been shortlisted for the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs 2018 and given financial backing by easyJet, founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

Joshua Wintergill’s adaptable sling for aeroplane transfers and Mark Williams’ prosthetic leg covers are among five entrepeneus shortlisted and who will receive £10,000 funding.

The winner of the award, which will be announced next month, will gain a total of £30,000 to help establish their concept.

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Wintergill’s sling, Ablemove, is designed to be carried by passengers who can be helped off and onto a plane if the airport they are travelling to or from does not have their own transfer equipment. This is often the case in airports outside of the UK and Europe.

Production of the equipment is expected to commence from November and the company has begun taking pre-orders.

Mark Williams’ company, LIMB-Art, designs and produces covers for prosthetic legs. Founded in 2018 by the former Paralympic swimmer and medallist, LIMB-art was born out of a desire to help other prosthetic users raise their confidence.

Designed for all users of above and below knee prostheses, LIMB-Art leg covers combine quality material and construction with design and technology to provide robust, affordable and above “cool” leg covers.

The Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs 2018 is being run in partnership with charity, Leonard Cheshire.

A record amount of 82 candidates applied for the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs this year — up 13% from 2017.

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

The remaining finalists are: Nick Lock from Barnstaple, Rachel Shapey from Stockport and Samona Williams, from London.

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.

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.”

Image credit: Bruno Vincent/Getty Images

Tags : easyjetequipmentSir Stelios Haji-Ioannoustelios award
Joe Peskett

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