Milton Keynes entrepreneur named one of Britain’s ‘most influential people with a disability’

Published in MK Web, 12th October 2014

The founder and owner of Milton Keynes-based Oliver James Garden Rooms has been shortlisted in the inaugural Power100 list of ‘Britain’s Most Influential Disabled People’.

Milton Keynes entrepreneur named one of Britain’s ‘most influential people with a disability’

James King is among the potential winners to be announced at a star-studded gala evening at Canary Wharf later this month.

This is the very first time the list has been published and will showcase the top 100 people regarded as role models in their fields who have also overcome the challenges of having a disability.

Those expected to be named include Paralympians, business leaders, politicians, entrepreneurs and representatives from the arts and media.

James, 48, of Bletchley, who suffers from a vision impairment called Retinitis Pigmentosa, has been registered blind since 1998, but didn’t let it stop him from founding a thriving, glazed home-extension company with a turnover currently in excess of half a million pounds.

James said: “We can learn so much from individuals who have had to navigate a different, tougher path. We are all only a click of a finger away from a life changing moment that could leave us having to learn new skills.

“I genuinely believe that the more you scratch the surface of ALL creative game changers you will find some inability that these people have faced or face.”

Known as the ‘Blind Builder with a Big Vision’, James added: “I’m keen to show that adversity should not stop you achieving your goals. When people think of the tallest column in Trafalgar Square, they don’t think of a man with one arm and one eye, they think of Admiral Nelson. People with a disability don’t want to be thought of in terms of what they can’t do, but what they can.”

The Power100 list of Britain’s Most Influential Disabled People will be unveiled on Thursday 16th October at an event taking place at KPMG’s headquarters in Canada Square. It was the brainchild of the creators behind the annual Black Power List, which has been running since 2007, and which names the UK’s 100 most powerful people of African and Caribbean heritage annually.

James says, “People with a disability have for a long time been an uncelebrated minority. With the creation of this new list and the success of events such as the Paralympics, the Zeitgeist is now with us. It’s time for people with a disability to showcase extraordinary talents on a national stage.”

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