Jane Hatton hasn’t let her disability stop her running an innovative training business for the public sector – and now she’s in the running for a top national award.
Jane, who has a mobility impairment following failed spinal surgery, began the business, Public Sector Providers, with her own money and raised £120,000 last year for growth.
The company specialises in delivering equality and diversity training to central government, local authorities, NHS trusts and not-for-profit organisations.
The Stelios Disabled Entrepreneur Award is run by Leonard Cheshire Disability and sponsored by easyGroup chairman Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.
The winner, chosen by the judges, will receive the £50,000 prize at the British Chamber of Commerce Awards at London’s Natural History Museum tomorrow.
Hatton, 48, from Kingswinford, near Dudley, said: “We have won contracts with 45 different public sector bodies which are delivered by a team of 32 consultants.
“I am so excited to be one of the five short-listed businesses for this award. My priority has been to build a solid foundation rather than to focus on profit, which puts us in a position to grow the business now the infrastructure is in place.
“The £50,000 would mean we could run more events to promote best practice in diversity and employ staff to focus on acquiring new business through the tender process.
“I would also like to move into the private sector. This growth could double our current capacity.
“Winning this award would also show that it’s people’s ability – what you can do – not the disability that matters.”
Sir Stelios said: “I am passionate about encouraging the enterprising spirit and working with Leonard Cheshire Disability to set up this award plays a big part in this.
“I would like to congratulate Jane for reaching the short-list of this year’s award, it is not an easy task to be nominated because there was stiff competition.
“With around 50 per cent of disabled adults out of work, removing barriers disabled people face in business is essential. Self-employment is a more viable option for many disabled people as it offers flexibility and helps bypass much of the prejudice that sadly still exists.
“I have been impressed by Jane and all short-listed entrepreneurs and will look forward to awarding the prize to the winner and seeing how they use it to grow their business.”
Anna Cooper, corporate development manager, Leonard Cheshire Disability, said: “Disabled people in business experience disadvantage and discrimination every day largely through ignorance; this needs to change.
“To be short-listed Jane had to prove that she is dynamic, driven and her business is destined to be a success.
“Our partnership with Sir Stelios is helping the charity highlight the barriers disabled people face in the workplace and recognise the outstanding achievement of disabled entrepreneurs. Leonard Cheshire Disability leads the way with innovative initiatives and campaigns that challenge people to change the way they see disability, and this award.”