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Cardiff enterprise leads the way in accessibility thanks to NatWest backing

CARDIFF-based entrepreneurs, Sara Flay and Leighton Morris are on a mission to improve accessibility within every aspect of society – from workplaces and educational institutions to accommodation and leisure facilities.

Sara, who was diagnosed with a muscle-wasting disease at the age of 23, and Leighton, whose life was changed by bowel cancer in 2011, joined forces to launch the Ani Group after experiencing the challenges that can come with living with a disability first-hand.

The Ani Group works in partnership with a host of clients from across the UK – ranging from start-up SMEs to national events and public bodies – to make their facilities more accessible to staff and members of the public.

Delivering vital work to improve accessibility across Wales and the UK, the pair have been part of NatWest’s Entrepreneur Accelerator Hub for the past six months. Working out of the programme’s Cardiff co-working space, Sara & Leighton continue to grow the business and their client base, expanding horizons for thousands of individuals who would have previously found destinations and experiences impossible to attend, explore & enjoy.

The NatWest Accelerator programme supports and empowers UK entrepreneurs to scale their businesses to the next level, offering one-to-one coaching, a programme of thought leadership and events, access to a network of like-minded peers, and fulltime use of a modern co-working space.

The programme is now accepting applicants for its 2023 cohort, with ambitious businesses across Wales encouraged to apply for a spot before applications close on 17th February 2023. Apply at: www.natwest.com/business/business-services/entrepreneur-accelerator.html

Commenting on the importance of accessibility, Sara said: “We founded Ani Group as part of our shared passion to tackle the urgent challenge of improving accessibility in Wales. In our time together, we have seen great progress across the city but there is still so much work to be done to build truly inclusive cities across our country.

“The past year has been huge for our business, and the support we’ve received from being part of NatWest’s Entrepreneur Accelerator has been invaluable as we continue to grow.

“We now work from the Hub full time, and it’s great to have the opportunity to bounce ideas off not only each other, but also the other business owners. Being able to connect and share our experiences with like-minded entrepreneurs – even ones in competing fields – has been a game-changer for us in terms of moving the business forward.”

NatWest currently runs 12 Accelerator hubs across the UK and through their enterprise programme the bank aims to create 50,000 new businesses by 2023, with the majority female led and 20 per cent run by Black, Asian and Minority ethnic entrepreneurs.

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Businesses are invited to visit the NatWest website to apply: https://www.natwest.com/business/business-services/entrepreneur-accelerator.html.