We are delighted to announce that our very own Geoff Holt MBE DL, founder and MD of Wetwheels, has been shortlisted for a national award.
The Stelios Foundation Disabled Entrepreneur of the Year Award, in conjunction with the Leonard Cheshire Foundation, has shortlisted Geoff as one of 3 entrepreneur's up for the award.
The press release reads as follows;
LOCAL DISABILITY ADVOCATE AND YACHTSMAN FINALIST FOR STELIOS AWARD 2015
· Leading disability advocate and yachtsman short-listed for Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs
· Unique award worth £50,000 announced on November 4 2015 chosen personally by EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou
A prominent disabled yachtsman and his business “Wetwheels” has been short-listed for the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs 2015, one of the most unique and prestigious prizes for entrepreneurs in the UK.
Wetwheels, a Community Interest Company (CIC) run out of Portsmouth, operates runs fully accessible boats to provide boating opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. Run by Geoff Holt MBE ( the first disabled person man to sail around Great Britain) the company offers disabled clients educational and mentoring programmes, along with sporting and recreational experiential trips on the sea.
The founder, Geoff Holt MBE, was paralysed in a swimming accident in 1984 and uses a wheelchair. In 1995 he became the inaugural Chairman of national sailing charity RYA Sailability, a role he held for six years. In 2007 he became the first paralysed disabled person to sail single-handed around Great Britain. In 2009 he sailed across the Atlantic Ocean unassisted and in 2017 he plans to sail around the world.
Geoff is one of three finalists to the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs 2015, run by EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and leading charity Leonard Cheshire Disability. Now in its ninth year, the award recognises the unique achievements of disabled entrepreneurs and offers a £50,000 cash prize to the winner - the largest cash sum of its kind in the UK.
The two other finalists are Anna Wilkson of MoreRehab.com and Andrew Gilbert of Gilbey Films.com
Geoff said: “Of all the projects I have been involved with, Wetwheels gives me the greatest pleasure. Over the years I have witnessed thousands of disabled people of all ages enjoy being on the water. It doesn't matter if that is on a sail boat or a motor boat; it is being on the water that makes the difference. I created the Wetwheels project to remedy the lack of opportunity. Judging from the smiles, I think we've found a winning formula".
Sir Stelios said: “I have been really impressed by the growth of Geoff’s company and the way he is meeting a genuine need in the market.
“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.”
Tony Adamson, Leonard Cheshire Disability’s Director of Enterprise and Innovation said: “We’re so thrilled Geoff has been chosen as one of the final three for this prestigious award – getting to this point is testimony to his hard work and determination. All of our finalists offer motivation to others, and we wish Geoff the very best of luck for the final announcement.”
The winner of the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs 2015 will be announced at a special awards ceremony to be held in London on 4 November.