How and why did you start your business?
Following a successful career in the financial services sector, which included working for ex-Dragon James Caan, my life changed in 2006 when my son was born with a severe disability. I was approached by Shane Bratby, who shared with me the challenges that disabled entrepreneurs face when trying to start their own business and secure investments. This inspired me to combine my investment and entrepreneurial experience with Shane’s knowledge of the disabled community. Since starting Kaleidoscope Investments, I’ve worked with over 1300 disabled entrepreneurs in 28 countries and more than 65 disabilities.
Tell us more about how you support disabled entrepreneurs to start their own business.
Kaleidoscope Investments run a 12-week incubator programme to support disabled entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and build ideas that are investable. The programme starts with the basics of business before building on this with the practical aspects, like business plans. We coach the participants throughout to maximise their chance of success, and they can also ask each other questions and share ideas.
Can you share a success story from the incubator programme with us?
We’ve had many success stories. We supported two disabled entrepreneurs with their business Mobility Mojo, who help hotels to audit the accessibility of their facilities. We see great ethos and ideas from the disabled entrepreneurs in our programmes, and what we do is provide the commercial support to help them make their businesses a success. Our aim is to raise awareness of successful disabled business owners.
Tell us about your experience of employing someone with a disability or health condition.
Everyone I work with has a disability. I think having a flexible mindset is the most important, whether it’s time or allowing people to work in their own way. It’s all about thinking differently and this builds loyalty and respect in the team.
How has Kaleidoscope Investments grown and developed over the years?
Since launching Kaleidoscope Investments in 2015, the business has expanded into the Kaleidoscope Group encompassing three other areas. Kaleidoscope Recruitment helps disabled people find employment and define their career, Kaleidoscope Advisory helps organisations ensure they have the right inclusive infrastructure from a diversity and inclusion perspective, and Kaleidoscope Mentoring offers mentoring services to Start-Up businesses. Separately, Kaleidoscope has set up a Foundation that is an independent charity offering grants and training to disabled people.