A businessman from Milton Keynes has reached the final of the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs.
Registered blind James King has enjoyed great success since setting up his thriving home extension business, Oliver James Garden Rooms.
Now in its sixth year, the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs, led by easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou recognises the unique achievements of disabled entrepreneurs and offers a £50,000 cash prize to the winner - the largest cash sum of its kind.
Speaking about his final place, James said: “I have faced many challenges with my eyesight deteriorating but I believe you can always engineer a solution to any difficulty. I have a PA who assists me by taking notes at meetings. I also make sure I know what is happening at each stage of the building process.
“I hope that I inspire a good team by not allowing a small detail like my eye condition to get in the way of our business and life goals.”
Sir Stelios said: “I have been really impressed by James’ business, his drive and his positive attitude. I look forward to this year’s final where the overall winner will be revealed.
“I am passionate about encouraging entrepreneurship, and the previous winners of this award offer proof that there are many highly talented disabled entrepreneurs out there.
“With around 50 per cent of disabled adults out of work it is clear that there still is a long way to go. Removing the barriers disabled people face in business is essential, and I hope that the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs goes some way to highlighting their achievements.”
Clare Pelham, Chief Executive of Leonard Cheshire Disability said: “I would like to congratulate James on reaching the final of these awards.
“This year’s award ceremony will fall on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and there could not be a more appropriate time for this occasion. Our finalists are all champions. We are delighted to highlight the contribution that they are making to the British economy. Each one of them is an example of the drive and determination that characterises entrepreneurs; and a particular example to young disabled people of the range of possibilities that lie ahead of them. We should all dare to dream. They have made their dreams real. And we applaud them for that.
“We are delighted to work with Sir Stelios on an award that celebrates the remarkable achievements of disabled entrepreneurs.”