When Dave Scates had to ask a potential employer to carry his wheelchair into a job interview, he realised working for someone else wasn’t for him.
After graduating from university, the aspiring graphic designer spent two-and-a-half years searching for a job.
In 2012 he found the Livability Enterprise Agency, a London-based project supporting disabled and disadvantaged people wishing to set up their own business.
Today, the 27-year-old is at the helm of his own graphic design business, based at his home in Adelaide Road, Chalk Farm.
He said: “It allows me to have my time as my own so, if I need to do something as a result of my disability, it’s not a problem.
“It doesn’t feel as much like working as it should do because I enjoy it so much.”
At the age of six, Mr Scates was diagnosed with a spinal tumour which has left him unable to walk unaided and reliant on a wheelchair.
When applying for jobs, he didn’t feel the need to tell potential employers of his disability before reaching the interview stage.
However, he soon learnt of the obstacles facing disabled people in the workplace when he arrived for an interview in his wheelchair only to find there was no disabled access to the building.
He said: “There were about ten steps to get into the building, so I had to call down the person who was interviewing me to carry my wheelchair up the stairs.
“That was the main incident where I felt the wheelchair held me back.”
Having decided to pursue his dream of setting up a graphic design business, Mr Scates enrolled on a 12-week course run by the Livability Enterprise Agency.
The free course, funded by Livability, a UK disability charity, helped him to draw up a business plan and learn about the key aspects of running a business, as well as giving him access to a mentor.
Mr Scates has since been running a graphic design firm under his own name for the past 18 months.
It has a number of regular clients including international health charity African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF).
He added: “I’ve given a lot of my time since finishing the course to meeting people [on the course] who are starting new businesses.
“I owe Livability so much and that’s why I’m still involved with them.”
For more information about Livability Enterprise Agency, visit www.livability.org.uk/service/enterprise.
Find Dave’s work at www.davescates.com or find him on twitter @DScatesDesign