A DISABLED man is holding all the aces after a five-figure boost for his business.
Stephen Collins, of Milnsbridge, has received £20,000 to create a website and set up a showroom for his company, Lazarus Mobility, an online retailer providing products for people with mobility problems.
Stephen, who has cerebral palsy, received the cash backing from Partnership Investment Finance, which uses private and public sector money to make loans to promising new and growing businesses.
The new website stocks mobility aids such as electric wheelchairs and scooters, bath lifts, walking frames, games, radio-controlled model racing cars and gardening equipment. It also stocks items such as fashion clothing under the Wheelie-Chix Chic brand.
Stephen has already impressed Duncan Bannatyne, of BBC programme Dragon’s Den, who has promised to back Marsden-based Lazarus Mobility during its first year by paying Stephen’s wages.
Duncan said: “I’ve met some impressive business people in my time and heard some great ideas. But Stephen is one of the most driven and remarkable individuals, especially given the obstacles he has faced because of his disability.”
Said Stephen: “I have lived with cerebral palsy for most of my life and have been told many times that there are many things – such as running a business – that a person like me cannot do.Š
“I’ve not let such comments stop me.
“I was told I’d never get married, let alone have children, but I’ve achieved both. So I am confident I can make a success of running a business.
“I eventually want to help entrepreneurs with conditions similar to my own.”
Stephen, who is married to Sally and has a teenage daughter, Rose, won an individual achievement award at the 2007 Star Awards run by the Shaw Trust. He has also provided a disabled school in Tanzania with all the crockery it needs for its 80 pupils.
His ultimate plan is to create a number of regional megastores offering one-stop-shops for disability living aids.