independent

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Double delight for entrepreneurs

Nicola Donnelly

Two Fingal entrepreneurs were celebrating recently as their business ideas have won two out of three categories in the David Manley Emerging Entrepreneur Awards.

Donabate woman Sarah Davis-Goff, who now lives in Swords, won the Emerging Arts Entrepreneur category for her Tramp Press publishing business with her business partner Lisa Coen while Stephen Cluskey of wheelchairtaxi.ie won the Emerging Social Entrepreneur category.

Both Sarah and Stephen were awarded with certificates and €1,000 in cash.

Tramp Press is an independent publisher set up to change the landscape of what Irish publishing is capable of accomplishing, and in doing so, brings new writing to readers.

On leaving university, Sarah worked in a variety of publishing environments before joining Lilliput Press where she discovered debut Irish author Donal Ryan. He went on to win Newcomer of the Year and Novel of the Year at the Bord Gáis Energy Book Awards 2013 and the Guardian First Book Award and was also nominated for the Man Booker Prize.

'By supporting excellent writing, we can allow authors to flourish without the obligation to be accepted by the increasingly conservative market,' said Sarah. 'We work hard to market and promote our titles but believe that sales have been strong because of the quality of the work, and because of our reputation for independent thinking.'

Stephen Cluskey set up www.wheelchairtaxi.ie after he, a wheelchair user himself, became stranded in Dublin city centre until 6am one night and had to phone his parents to come and collect him.

Wheelchairtaxi.ie is a 'one-stop-shop' for sourcing all forms of wheelchair accessible transport across Ireland. Users can search their area and are provided with listings of all of the wheelchair accessible transport in that area, including a photo of the vehicle, contact details for the driver, working hours and other relevant information. The site targets not just wheelchair users but also their family and friends.

'As a wheelchair user of 12 years, I have always struggled to find suitable transport,' explained Stephen.

'These are the very real problems wheelchair users face on a daily basis. So I founded wheelchairtaxi.ie as a response to that problem. Nothing like it currently exists anywhere in the world.'

There are currently 80 or so drivers on the site and twice that amount of registered users. Stephen is very active on the Taxi Advisory Committee and last year the committee helped to secure a €1 million grant for taxi drivers to upgrade their vehicles to be wheelchair accessible.

The company is being re branded Goaccessible365.com and a new website and app have been designed.

'My goal is that Goaccessible365.com will become the number one used worldwide travel resource for wheelchair users,' said Stephen.

Fingal Independent

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