This very special evening afforded an opportunity for Livability Enterprise Agency clients to shine, with some also being presented with awards to recognise their remarkable achievements. It also gave us the chance to thank the supporters and funders who have enabled Livability to offer this help, and for guests to meet and speak with our small business owners.
The event was sponsored by RBS for the second year running and took place at their Bishopsgate offices on 28th November.
The award winners were:
Giuseppe has always been passionate about health and wellbeing, and the importance of good food. He has channelled this passion into his business of importing and retailing fine foods and natural products from Italy.
He imports 100% natural and handmade products from Sardinia, such as Choc PistaHoney – which is 60% Raw Sardinian Honey,35% Bronte Sicilian PGI Pistachio, and 5% Venchi Cocoa. He also brings in Strawberry Tree medicinal honey which is bitter and very rare (from a winter blossoming tree) produced exclusively in Sardinia.
The Wholefood chain is interested in his products, especially in the nut honeys, so Giuseppe is working hard to get the packaging right for the shops.
Omar started a ‘supporting artists’ agency – ‘A 1 Casting’ – with friends, and enjoyed some initial success working on films such as ‘The Bourne Legacy’. Unfortunately the agency, like other agencies in the industry, fell on difficult times and stopped trading for a short while.
Omar has powered through adversity to build his enterprises, even when he fell ill and needed key-hole heart surgery. It was at this point that the Enterprise Agency were able to support and encourage him.
Omar demonstrated great entrepreneurialism by diversifying his business, with the help of a new business partner now runs classes for his clients. The company is called “i 1 2 Learn”, and with hard graft, passion and innovation the company looks set to continue to grow throughout 2014.
Rezene came to the UK as a refugee from Eritrea having escaped war, unjust imprisonment and a hostile environment where poverty is rife and disability is hidden away from society to avoid disgrace. Rezene is deaf.
Obstacles she faced included a three year prohibited work and benefit receipt period on her arrival to the UK, language barriers and having no family in the UK. In that time she studied English and gained British Sign Language qualifications, whilst learning about the business start-up system, the legal requirements of HMRC, and a host of other business skills.
Rezene has recently set up trading as a freelancer providing administration services to a private company and is now in the process of setting up a BSL teaching school and a Deaf Awareness training and consulting service.
Following a complaint Rezene made to Apple for refusal to provide her with a sign language interpreter, Rezene challenged management from the company at an official meeting, and they are now keen to improve their access for deaf customers, and are committed to working with Rezene and Naomi (a sign language interpreter) on an ongoing basis.
Her deaf awareness training program looks set to grow, as she has forged links with Islington Council to run her training.
Rezene’s passion is to see equality flourish. It is this humble yet determined approach to her business that we were so delighted to honour.