Disabled entrepreneurs can apply for £50,000 support programme

Disabled entrepreneurs who could benefit from expert support getting their business off the ground are being urged to apply for a £50,000 programme run by a Leicester businessman.

Internet entrepreneur Mark Esho MBE has launched The Circle Foundation to give one disabled business person £50,000 worth of business support and mentoring.

Mr Esho, who has been disabled since contracting polio as a boy, said he had faced his own struggles starting a business and wanted to give something back.

He said the aim of the charity was to empower disabled entrepreneurs with a “circle” of support, building their skills and confidence to make their business dream a reality.

The charity also promotes disability equality by encouraging the beneficiaries to “pay it forward” – offering support to others at the beginning of their entrepreneurial journey. The search is now on to find the first entrants to the competition.

Mr Esho said: “Finding support for a start-up venture as a disabled person can be a real challenge.

“As a disabled entrepreneur myself, and working with many others over the years, I understand the innumerable barriers that disabled people often face when starting up in business.”

The Circle Foundation has received support from Pattersons Commercial Law and Alacrity Accounting as well as Leicester and Leicestershire Business Gateway. Mr Esho, who graduated from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) in 1994, is also linking up with Helen Donnellan, Pro Vice Chancellor Regional Business and Innovation, who is coming on board as a mentor.  

Business Gateway manager Rachel York said: “It’s important that all businesspeople know that we are here to support them, irrespective of their abilities, gender, ethnicity or sexuality.

“Getting involved with the Circle Foundation competition is one way of clearly demonstrating this and we are very happy to be involved.”


Posted on Sunday 8th May 2022

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