Blue Badge Style has made the shortlist for The Pitch 2013. The Pitch, now in it's sixth year, is the UK's biggest small business competition. It rewards up and coming small businesses for innovation and entrepreneurial excellence. Blue Badge Style has made it onto the shortlist of forty outstanding new businesses which will take part in the semi-finals of the competition.
Making the shortlist is a great achievement in itself but Blue Badge Style have ambitions to go beyond this and win the award. The next stage of the competition is the online voting phase. Blue Badge Style have created an online profile encouraging people to vote for them to be crowned winners of The Pitch 2013. In the profile they say that they "are creating a company with ambitious yet attainable growth plans with the added benefit of 'social inclusion' for the disabled community as a side effect". The more votes they get the better their chances when it comes to the pitch stage.
On Wednesday the 25th of September the pitch element comes into play as Blue Badge Style founder, Fiona Jarvis, will present her company to a live audience and panel of judges at Paintworks in Bristol. Should she be successful at that stage she will pitch again that evening as one of the five Pitch finalists competing for a share of a minimum £275,000 cash investment.
Jarvis has said that winning The Pitch would "send us into the next stage of growth i.e. onto profitability. It would help grow our community to 1.5m and therefore increase our value to advertisers, hospitality venues etc. It will also give us much needed publicity which again will increase our community/ social network."
The core ethos behind Blue Badge Style is 'freedom shared' - the aim being to inform and help less able people live their lives in style. It is the only company that looks at disability from the point of view of style & design, taking a stylish, pragmatic and cost-efficient approach to inclusive access, working with venue management teams, designers and architects to improve the awareness of disabled facilities. “Style is the overriding premise of Blue Badge Style, along with a positive outlook” says Fiona Jarvis, “disability need not stop you from enjoying the good things in life!”
The Blue Badge Style free app is the first and only app to give you information on where to go near you based on not only how stylish the place is but how accessible it is for disabled customers.The app works as a” Michelin-like” star system for the less able. It identifies cool venues near your location and uses a bespoke three tick rating system to grade it out of 5 for each category: 1.Access, 2.Facilities and 3.Style, so that users know exactly what to expect from each venue. You can then easily see the best places near you, read a review, check the Blue Badge Style rating and get directions on how to get there.
She has big plans for the company and encourages everyone to go and vote for Blue Badge Style - a unique business concept with a social ethos or aiding the less able. Big plans which could help grow this small business tremendously, aided by success at the UK's biggest small business competition.
Fiona Jarvis established the Blue Badge Style website in 2007 in an attempt to create a community of like-minded people for whom style and disability are not mutually exclusive. She first realised she might have multiple sclerosis after falling off her high heels in a bar once too often. She has become progressively disabled over a period of 20 years whilst she worked in the City selling multi million pound software systems for the like of SAP. However, Fiona has always refused to compromise on her own style, whether that’s eating in smart restaurants, wearing elegant clothes or going on glamorous holidays. Through all the challenges, Fiona has carried on and not compromised on style. She embodies the BBS Spirit! Just as Coco Chanel said: “Fashion fades; only style remains the same”.
About Blue Badge Style
The Blue Badge Style website and mobile app are currently building a community whose core ethos is 'freedom shared'. However, Blue Badge Style also offers a number of additional services:
Blue Badge Style Tick Rating
The unique BBS Tick Rating System is designed to encourage venues to provide Equality of Access to Goods & Services. We rate out of 5 for each category: 1.Access, 2.Facilities and 3.Style. The scores are then aggregated to a number of BBS Ticks from 0.5 to a maximum of 3. Our aim is for ‘as recommended by Blue Badge Style’ to become an aspirational goal for any item, organisation or establishment.
Whatever you wish to do, be it go to Paris, visit the Tate, stay at a boutique hotel, or check out the latest nightclub, BBS will arrange and advise on the best way to do this.
BBS campaigns highlight where the ‘equal provisions of goods and services are unreasonably deficient’. The intention is to act as an agent for change, altering venues’ mind-set toward accessibility. It needs to be treated as the ‘norm’, rather than something a venue is compelled to do by legislation.
We also campaign for the better design of disability products, which currently look like they are from the Marquis de Sade’s basement!
Pictorial Access Descriptions (PADs)
BBS offers PADs for all hospitality venues. They are social media ready descriptions of the facilities &/or obstacles within a venue. They look at comfort rather than compliance and are as cool as the venue’s website, allowing potential customers to make an informed choices about whether to visit.