Meet Inclusive Entrepreneur Carol Ann Whitehead FRSA GGA

Meet Inclusive Entrepreneur Carol Ann Whitehead FRSA GGA

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carol ann whiteheadCarol Ann Whitehead, FRSA, GGA
Managing Director, The Zebra Partnership

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and an advocate for women's rights, equality and diversity, Carol Ann is the Co-Founder of The Zebra Partnership. Founded in 2000, it is a boutique agency based in Manchester that brings together freelancers in the fields of campaigns, event management and publishing on a project-by-project basis here in the UK and overseas. The agency is the recipient of the 2019 Inclusive Companies Certificate of Excellence.

Carol Ann is on the Northern PowerWomen Power List. A Global Goodwill Ambassador advocate for women’s rights, equality, diversity and inclusion, Carol Ann is joint CEO of ‘The Peoples Hub UN’ supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Carol Ann delivered a lecture at the UN Youth Association in Denmark and was part of the 2019 UN Global Festival of Action in Germany.

Among her other work in this field, Carol Ann collaborated with FiLiA to bring their internationally recognised feminist conference to Manchester. She is co-founder of the Pankhurst Centre-based Global Ada Lovelace Wikieditathon and Global Juror for SDG Entreps Awards.

If you would like to follow her progress, please engage with her on social media:





or email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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Meet our Inclusive Entrepreneurs: Swift and Sure

Meet our Inclusive Entrepreneurs: Swift and Sure

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S Hopwood Cropped"My disability may prevent me from being able to do some things, but there are still lots more that I still can do, albeit with some help.... This was just another challenge...The way I saw it… if I can sit in my scooter and take my dog out, then I can drive my truck and pull a trailer!"

Stephen Hopwood

Owner, Swift and Sure SCT

CEO and Founder Jacqueline Winstanley recently caught up with Steve Hopwood of Swift and Sure SCT to find out what makes him an inspirational Inclusive Entrepreneur. Steve is also a member of the Inclusive Entrepreneur community and is being coached and mentored by Jacqueline

So what led you to entrepreneurship and how did you start Swift and Sure SCT?

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"On the 24th of July, 1986, I was involved in a motorcycle accident where I was badly injured. This accident was life-changing for me - I woke up three days later in hospital minus my right arm below the elbow and with my right leg held together by pins. A few days later it too was amputated."

The events of the 24th July 1986 were not tragic for me. Traumatic yes, but I felt like I had become a new person. With the help of the hospital staff, and most of all, the support and encouragement that I received from my wife, I was soon up and running again."

"I regard life as a journey through time, with each person having their own little ship sailing in a busy ocean full of other ships. Suddenly my little ship had become caught in a storm. I was shipwrecked on a desert island, and left all on my own. I felt like I was an explorer, his feet (or in my case, foot) stepping onto the wet sand of an uncharted island, with every foot step uncovering something new. Many years have gone by since those early days, days when there were tears and upset."

I had various jobs in the years following my accident. During that time, I was also invited to join the Norwich branch of BLESMA, the limbless veterans (British Limbless Ex Service Men's Association), and through their network of contacts, I participated in various activities that I otherwise would not have attempted, such as scuba diving, sailing, & skiing (dry slope). More recently, I was very fortunate to win a scholarship to learn to fly a light aircraft and spent a very enjoyable six weeks at 43 Air School, Port Alfred South Africa. Being encouraged to participate in these activities was good for me as it has certainly brought out the positive nature that I now seem to have."

"In 2003, I decided to set up my own business doing runs for local hauliers with a Ford Transit I had converted with money from the Access to Work scheme. The way I saw it, if I can sit in my scooter and take my dog out, then I can drive my truck and pull a trailer! I needed help with everyday things like cooking my meals and getting into the bath, but driving is something I could do independent of anyone else. So I embarked on my own journey into entrepreneurship, ploughing a lot of my money into the venture as I started and got it off the ground."

He continued, "Interestingly enough, when I first applied for a provisional HGV licence, I was rejected, not because of my disabilities, but due to my short-sightedness!  Despite this setback, I persisted, and built up Swift and Sure Secure Car Transport (SCT), a courier and light haulage business."

So what is Swift and Sure SCT?

"I could see that there was a growing demand for secure, safe and on time, same-day delivery of cars. So I set up Swift and Sure SCT where customers can have that peace of mind, with ongoing updates for delivery from pick-up to completed delivery. We now collect and deliver cars of all values and sizes all over the UK. We also provide delivery to Europe and Worldwide and can support other companies with storage and logistics of their products."

"Over the years, we have delivered everything from high-end, high-specification vehicles such as cars used for racing and track days; valuable, new, classic and sometimes vintage cars; Porches, Jaguars, BMWs to name a few, to cars going off for auctions and cars involved in accidents; we have helped businesses and families or individuals with relocation, collecting and moving cars to their new addresses. We have even collected and delivered mobility scooters."

"We have received great testimonials, many of which are on our facebook page."

How easy was it to set up?

"It was hard - but then every day is tough for me. This was just another challenge. I put my success down to my grit and determination to succeed. My outlook is simple - I do not want sympathy, I want empathy."

"Once I was accepted on the Access to Work Scheme, I had paid support. This has helped me to overcome several obstacles. My family also supports me and keeps me going. I am proud of what I have built. I can see what I earn, although I have invested a lot of my savings which I don’t think I’ll ever recoup."

Steve, you are a member of the Inclusive Entrepreneur Community. How has that helped you in your journey as an entrepreneur?

"I made contact with Jacqueline who introduced me to her organisation Universal Inclusion. As a member of the Inclusive Entrepreneur Community, I value both the support and the great network."

"Jacqueline was amazing and her assistance with the Access to Work Scheme was tremendous. She has also encouraged me to continue growing my business and to explore opportunities that I wouldn't have otherwise considered. Her insights in Inclusive Entrepreneurship, her understanding of the challenges I face as a disabled entrepreneur and her overall approach are inspiring. She understands where I am coming from and what drives me to keep on going. Through the Inclusive Entrepreneurs Community, I met with similar entrepreneurs who share my passion for cars and my determination. I am excited to see where I can take my passion, my business and my ambition with Jacqueline and the Inclusive Entrepreneur Programme!"

If you would like to contact Steve, you can email him on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or call him on +44 (0) 7730 921051.


You can also follow him on Facebook:

He was recently featured in the Porche Owners Club Magazine Issue 1 Summer 2020:

Steve Hopwood Porsche Owners Club Issue 1 Summer 2020

Steve Hopwood Porsche 1

Steve Hopwood Porsche 2


Steve Hopwood Porsche 3


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Meet our Inclusive Entrepreneur: Robert Winstanley, Beautiful Creator

Meet our Inclusive Entrepreneur: Robert Winstanley, Beautiful Creator

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Rob Winstanley"I want to help people see there is a different way of being. I want to remove their fears, concerns and other barriers stopping them from finding the true joy within their lives. Through Beautiful Creator, I can use my skills to help other people get through any of life’s tribulations."

Robert Winstanley FRSA

Owner, Beautiful Creator

CEO and Founder Jacqueline Winstanley recently caught up with Rob Winstanley of Beautiful Creator to find out what makes him an inspirational Inclusive Entrepreneur. Rob is also a member of the Inclusive Entrepreneur community and is being coached and mentored by Jacqueline.



So what led you to entrepreneurship and how did you start Beautiful Creator?

"I was born with brittle bones. From day one, I have been on my own journey...having shattered my femur and broken seven bones in my rib cage. I have spent many years strapped in a hospital bed - isolated from the world, and experiencing some of the lowest lows, and feeling like there is no way out. That is, until I met one incredible person who helped me see what life truly can be like ..that it was not the material things that I was obsessed with, but experiencing the true joy of love."

"These past 27 years have been a roller coaster which have allowed me to gather the skills and ability I need to help and support people on life's demanding and challenging journey. I wish to help people see there is a different way of being. I want to remove barriers such as fear and any concerns they may have, to help them find the true joy that is within their lives."

That was the beginning of Beautiful Creator. I started the life-coaching company to use my extensive skillset in supporting people, to radically change their lives and views on the world."

So tell me more about Beautiful Creator.

"Beautiful Creator is not just one programme. It is a series of programs that cover a spectrum of activities, ranging from one-to-one life coaching, right though to conferences/events and everything in between."

"For the one-to-one coaching, I work closely with my clients.  We meet wherever they feel safe and secure to speak, whether this is at their home, or a local leisure center, country park. The aim is for them to feel safe and be able to open up."

"While there is a lot of talk in the media how even though you have a disability, many activities are still possible, I want to take it further, showing how everything is still possible, creating travel guides for the disability community, locating accessible hotels, attractions and so on, removing concerns and barriers individuals may have about travel. I see myself reporting on upcoming projects such as inclusive cities, a project run by the ICCC. It is all about people being able to access experiences that support their mental health and wellbeing."

"I want people to see that with the right support, anything is possible. The name Beautiful Creator promotes this concept, reminding people of how beautiful life can be with a little help, how it can be created."

Rob, you are a member of the Inclusive Entrepreneur Community. How has that helped you in your journey as an entrepreneur?

"Jacqueline’s help on my journey towards becoming an entrepreneur has been tremendous. With her coaching and the Inclusive Entrepreneur programme, she was instrumental in helping me remove personal blockages and obstacles that I myself had placed in my way. After a year of struggling with the entrepreneur’s world, I was filled with a new level of self-belief that anything is possible with the right support. She has the knowledge and passion to support members of the disabled community, and can in turn help them to follow their own passions!"

If you would like to contact Rob, you can browse through his website, follow him on social media, email him on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call him on +44 (0) 7931 398400.






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Congratulations Bolton Wanderers Football Club #BWFC

Congratulations Bolton Wanderers Football Club #BWFC

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Albeit an 11th hour reprive, this is fantastic news that Bolton Wanderers Football Club #BWFC (  is under new ownership and remaining in the Football League.

The Club is so much more than match day entertainment. It is the heart of the town and the subject of the famous Lowry painting "Going to the Match"*

*In 1928, a Sunday painter by the name of Lowry completed his painting Going To The Match. Laurence Stephen Lowry is Britain’s best loved impressionist painter and Going To The Match depicts a match at Bolton Wanderers’ Burnden Park, a ground built in August 1895 and once host to crowds as large as 70,000. In 1953, the painting won a Football Association competition in honour of the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. It was bought by the by the Professional Footballers' Association for a record £1.9 million in 1999.

Winstanley U20 FIFAIt also has a legacy footprint of Inclusive Opportunities through its football in the community programme and Women’s football team.

I and all the young people at Kids Core an initiative I founded and managed from 1995 to 2004 and which became the blueprint for the Inclusive Play and Childcare Model, will fondly remember the Summer Football Clubs BWFC ran for us each year. These were ever so popular and saw an increase in the number of young people of all abilities take up the sport, including my own son, and my daughter who went on to play for BWFC Women’s Team and is now a Sports Medicine Doctor. She toured with the New Zealand Under 20’s Women’s World Cup Team in the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup

The club was at the forefront of Community Cohesion engaging in ways that only sport can, and I am delighted it is here to stay.


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Call for Support for Disabled People in Enterprise within BEIS

Call for Support for Disabled People in Enterprise within BEIS

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As Disabled People are effectively silenced by the latest conflicting guidance within the Access to Work award, we once again call for support for Disabled People in Enterprise to be placed within BEIS.

It’s hard to imagine that in a year when we celebrate the many achievements of disabled people, once again we see conflicting criteria within the Access to Work (ATW) award. Contrary to its stated intent and potential to lift disabled people out of poverty, it is now acting in ways which serve to remove the right to Advocacy and or Third Party Consent to assist with the application process.

It was shocking to be informed by advisors at the contact centre that this essential support, provided at the point of application and throughout the duration of the award, including review, ceased to exist three weeks ago. This move left disabled people and others who require support in the process unable to access the very support they require at the point of entry to the award or at review.

This move also comes amidst the ongoing difficulties faced by users of the service, which were outlined again recently at a focus group organised by the Inclusive Entrepreneur Network in the UK.

Sadly whilst the key area of practical support to disabled people in enterprise remains within the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), these enterpreneurs automatically fall within a perceived regime. Focus group members consider this to result in a disproportionate regard to a false perception of misuse of the award. This view, according to the focus group, is over and above the stated intent of supporting disabled people into employment, increasing innovation and economic growth. They also see that this injustice is likely to continue.

So why is this such a blow to disabled people? We are tasked to create Inclusive Economic Growth and the ‘Paradigm Shift’  within the UN 2030 Agenda. This directive falls directly within basic human rights and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) signed up to by our Government. With this change in policy, this moves the UK out of reach of attaining these goals and delivering the support required for disabled people to achieve economic independence, effectively silencing them in the process. 

More importantly, why does this remit fit within the Dept. of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and not the traditional realms of the DWP? 

To answer this, let us first explore what we mean by Inclusive Entrepreneurship.  

It is everything that Entrepreneurship can be - a concept or innovation; humanitarian, financial or socially-driven. It can lead to very simple yet practical innovation such as replacing plastic straws or introducing game-changing inventions like the smart curve mammograms.

It embraces failure as an essential step towards greater innovation. 

Remember people like Sir James Dyson, Dr. Shirley Jackson, Thomas Edison, Marie Curie, Stephanie Kwolek … the list goes on. Along the way, they all have experienced failure, time and time again, prior to achieving their great successes.

The only and critical difference for disabled entrepreneurs is that they will require support both to become and remain an entrepreneur. 

The resultant contribution to the growth of the economy from such enterprise is what we term Inclusive Economic Growth

In the UK, there is a significant employment gap for disabled people. Disability Rights UK (DRUK) states that there were an estimated 3.7 million people of working age (16-64) with disabilities in employment between January-March 2018, an employment rate of 50.7%. The employment rate for people without disabilities was 81.1%.

Government has given a commitment to halving the employment gap that currently exists for Disabled People by 2020*. Yet the National Audit Office reports that the number of disabled people out of work has remained relatively static at 3.7 million and any growth of disabled people within the workplace is more likely to be down to more people who are already in work declaring a disability.

We also know from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation that one in six people who become disabled while in work will lose their jobs within the first 12 months of diagnosis. 

We know that the world of work is changing and we are seeing massive growth within the private sector, particularly within SMEs.

Business Population Estimates for the UK and Regions in 2018*:

  • Small businesses accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses at the start of 2018. 99.9% were small or medium-sized businesses (SMEs).
  • Total employment in SMEs was 16.3 million; 60% of all private sector employment in the UK.
  • The combined annual turnover of SMEs was £2 trillion, 52% of all private sector turnover.

*above figures from FSB Report 2018

The Inclusive Entrepreneur Program, piloted in the UK, identified the key issues faced by Disabled Entrepreneurs. We have previously made recommendations to Government on how this could be improved, including making an earlier call to place the Access to Work award within what is now BEIS.  


The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) ratification in the UK requires Government to present a rights-based response to the employment gap for disabled women.

Sadly, evidence shows that the Employment Support programmes within the DWP are not having the desired impact in terms of reducing the Employment Gap for Disabled People. Furthermore, service user feedback within recent Select Committee Investigations; presentations to the UN Inquiry on UK progress on fulfilling its commitments to the UNCRPD; and subsequent recommendations all point to Disabled People being highly dissatisfied with the current programmes and their internal administration. They consider them to be more in line with disability-related benefit programmes - filled with conflict, threat of sanctions, citing recent and ongoing restructure of the ATW award, creating chaos and mistrust.

If we then look at the allocation of funds intended to redress this, we are told by government that they spend millions on Employment Support Programmes designed to reduce the number of disabled women on out of work benefits. This may not an unsubstantial amount, until you see what the Government allocates to BEIS to support economic growth, which depending on the various figures released, is between £91.3 and £180 Billion.

And it’s here where I would like to position the Paradigm Shift and outline how BEIS can support disabled people in enterprise to achieve it. 

When we move out of the realms of the DWP, we are met with terminology and working practice which instantly uplifts and implies a sense of value, purpose and hope. 

Quite simply, BEIS gets it. It comes at it from a different starting point. Its primary concern is not how much of a burden a person is within the Welfare Bill; instead it concerns itself with what disabled people can do, how they can contribute to innovation and increase Economic Growth. 

I have outlined below the elements which will enhance the current portfolio of programmes within BEIS and or inform future development in this area:

  • The creation of a Task Group to champion and enhance existing and future opportunities within BEIS, led by Disabled Entrepreneurs.  The task group must work with disabled people to develop measures which support innovation and Inclusive Economic Growth.
  • Targeted business support programmes which

o   include the management of health and wellbeing, alongside traditional start-up advice. These must be well publicised, accessible and have the desired level of flexibility that will be required.

o   include elements to fund business compliance, professional development and the day-to-day management of the award.

o   encourage innovation, and which recognise value and purpose of failure along the way without penalty or limitation in scope or location.

  • Access to finance programmes which are sympathetic to life-experiences and acknowledge that most disabled people will not have the financial footprint that traditional funding streams require
  • Funding for practical support which understands the very nature of Inclusive Entrepreneurship and the complexities for disabled people within the workplace, particularly for those who have life-limiting and fluctuating conditions.
  • An Advocacy and Third-Party Consent Mechanism that is embedded within any enterprise support programmes and/or Access to Finance stream.
  • Provide easy access to mental health support and holistic treatments to minimise the impact of managing the day-to-day challenges that come with being an Inclusive Entrepreneur.  
  • Recognise that traditional methods of evaluation and existing benchmarks based on the way non-disabled people run their business cannot be applied to disabled people. There must be separate evaluation tools and benchmarks that are fit for purpose.
  • Create open and realistic pathways, both by way of levels of award, and autonomy within personalised budgets with quick and easy access to additionality.

Inclusive Entrepreneurship, if supported effectively, offers a real and sustainable way forward in reducing the employment gap for Disabled People. 

The simple measures suggested can be implemented quickly, both within existing and future developments within BEIS. They can also bring about a swift and sustainable way forward for Disabled Entrepreneurs. 

In doing so, we will see an end to the current conflicting criteria and restrictive practice currently experienced by Disabled Entrepreneurs - the most notable of which has been the rather short-sighted insistence within the Access to Work Award that Disabled Entrepreneurs are given less time to evidence business viability than their non-disabled peers. This criteria is not clearly defined, and is subject to the discretion of each individual advisor. Sadly, should this not be evidenced, the Disabled Entrepreneur may not try again for five years, (yes that is not a typo - five years!). 

Significant innovation comes to mind which would never have come into being had that criteria been applied, not least of all, the very tool and medium I am using to present this Call to Action. 

Imagine if the cure for cancer is in the gift of a disabled woman in enterprise - not on the first time that she tries, but on her second attempt - and we did not go that extra mile to support that innovation. 

Crucially, and in conclusion, BEIS has within its reach an opportunity to embrace this Paradigm Shift within the 2030 Agenda. It is best placed to bring together the partnership between the Disabled People in enterprise and their aspirations, and the practical measures needed to turn this vision of reducing the employment gap into a reality. 

At this time, I ask Government, specifically

  • The Prime Minister
  • Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Minister for Women and Equalities 
  • Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work
  • Minister of State for Countering Extremism and Minister of State for Equalities
  • Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, The Minister for Disabled People,

to Support our Call to Action

  • To Reinstate the use of the advocate and third-party consent process within the Access to Work award giving back Disabled People in Enterprise their voice.
  • To Create opportunities for Disabled People in Enterprise in line with our recommendations.

Jacqueline Winstanley - July 2019

Entrepreneur, Humanitarian and Global Disruptor 

email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further details

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