"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!"
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?
"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!"
You can also follow him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Swift-Sure-SCT-1398131683600383/