Nick Heywood

Entrepreneur of Excellence Award: Sponsor - Kantar

Entrepreneur of Excellence Award: Sponsor - Kantar

Nominee Profile

Location: Staffordshire
Hello, I'm Nick Heywood and I aspire to help our society become more inclusive and fair to disabled people.

Growing up in a disabled, working-class background, and revolving between mainstream and specialist schools, I have learned a lot about how our needs may vary from person to person; but also how easily we can be excluded if appropriate considerations aren't accommodated. These experiences have motivated me to actively advocate disability inclusion and consider how I could help improve living experiences for others, especially disabled people.

Due to struggles with my disabilities and mental health, I was unable to complete my GCSE's, so after 5 years of taking college courses, I finally gained a place at Staffordshire University. During university, I represented disabled students as an active committee member of the student union's Disabled Students' Network, by developing and gathering feedback from other students to pass onto relevant university staff, to improve and even innovate their services and facilities to further accommodate our needs. Upon recognition of these efforts, I was awarded multiple community engagement awards and began to consider how I could make an even larger impact. I concluded my studies with a research project into the impact of disability exclusion in the UK, for both customers and for businesses, and the gathered insights were not only astonishing, but also formulated eye-opening business arguments that justify our value as customers.

1 in 5 of us are disabled and UK businesses lose up to £17.1 billion per year due to inaccessible websites alone, through our decisions not to invest in businesses that exclude disabled people. Which is why I started an accessibility consultancy business last year, to empower disabled people and help Staffordshire-based businesses innovate their products and/or services to create more inclusive experiences.

Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn!