How I started my business as a disabled entrepreneur

“Start with why, find your purpose and relentlessly get up every day until you achieve what you set out to do. Then start all over again”

How I started my business as a disabled entrepreneur

I founded ableMove in 2018, with a particular focus on wheelchair users with their daily challenges, by designing and manufacturing durable, practical, safe and comfortable transportation and lifestyle products to assist them in their daily lives. As a company we will also supply research and consultancy services into the aviation industry and government, with the aim of giving people with disabilities a fair and equitable access to air travel. At ableMove, and via the wider work we do, we are always focused on improving people’s lives and this was the lightbulb switch that happened in my head, when I was reading a book by Simon Sinek called “Start with the Why ” back in 2017. And now, seeing our products and services enhance people’s lives, never gets boring. 

What I often get asked is how I was able to set up my company and get it to where it is today. When my idea first came about for ableMove, I was very fortunate to come across the Stelios UK Disabled Entrepreneur Awards, and won £30,000 towards getting my business off the ground (literally). Following the awards, Sir Stelios Founder of easyJet decided to invest in my company for an equity stake (pre-seed) through his easyGroup brand. I was very lucky! There is a long story about how I stumbled across the awards that provide funding for businesses that fit a certain criterion and I highly encourage other disabled entrepreneurs to look at these for support.

There are some cool organisations doing some fabulous work to help disabled entrepreneurs get their businesses going, and we also seeing more disabled entrepreneurs becoming investors. Some organisations worth noting are Kaleidoscope, Ability Connect, and Parallel to name a few.

At ableMove, we have brand ambassadors who do fantastic work to produce content, by creating videos documenting their travels, highlighting our products on their social media platforms and being a voice for meaningful change in how disabled people live, and of the choices they have. Ambassadorship should be partnered with more widely and be incentivised to do so, through paid opportunities or for using your products. I am extremely grateful to all our ambassadors.

Several hurdles still exist across the travel industry for people with disabilities. To overcome them, it’s important that we put emphasis on those who are impacted on most by the industry as priority, such as passengers who need support, to put them at the heart of decision making to ensure fair and equitable travel can be achieved for all. My hope as an entrepreneur, is to encourage others, with a disability or not, to realise the significant amount of impact that can be made across the travel industry and if it involves a commercial venture – then my advice is to most definitely go for it!

For the future, we are working on a new product for wheelchair users in aviation, as well as continuously working on influencing new legislative changes in the UK and internationally, on-air travel. Aside from my entrepreneurial work, I am also training to become part of Team GB’s Paralympic Shooting Squad with the aim of competing in the 2028 LA Paralympic Games, which also keeps me busy! My passion for sport is what I hope to share with others by encouraging people with disabilities to take-up this (or other sports), so they can enjoy recreational activities without unnecessary barriers and of course, have fun and enjoyment by doing something new.

Joshua Wintersgill
Joshua Wintersgill

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