Rachel Hubbard, founder and CEO of Bexley-based Deaf Umbrella East – a loyal supporter of this site – has been crowned Entrepreneur of the Year at the South London Business Awards ceremony held on 4 July at the Riverbank Park Plaza, London, hosted by BBC Radio’s James Cannon.
From hundreds of entries, 89 finalists were shortlisted for the evening’s awards and Rachel beat off stiff competition to win the coveted title. Presenting the award, Bryan Treherne, urged the audience to “look up the dictionary definition of entrepreneur because against it you will see the name Rachel Hubbard.”
Deaf Umbrella provides British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters to deaf people and those working with them. Rachel learnt British Sign Language as a child when her mother suddenly fell profoundly deaf. She founded Deaf Umbrella when she realised how poorly deaf people’s communication needs were met.
Rachel said: ‘At Deaf Umbrella, we are passionate about supporting deaf people and those who work with them.’
The company started in 2000 with a single client. It now employs five full-time staff and up to thirty interpreters – serving government, colleges and universities, the voluntary sector and some of the biggest names in British business.
Deaf Umbrella’s success also rests on a unique commitment to the training and development of its staff and others working with the deaf community.
Deaf Umbrella provides in-house training for its own employees with Level 3 qualifications in BSL to advance to Level 6. And last year, the company teamed up with the University of Greenwich to provide a fully-accredited, 60 credit Level 4 course to others in the field.
Now Rachel is offering these resources to other universities so they can ‘grow their own communication support workers’ and is planning the first degree-level course in the specialism.
To find out more about Deaf Umbrella and the services they provide, go to: deafumbrella.com
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne. Find out how to write for us by clicking here, how to follow us by clicking here, and read our disclaimer here.
The site exists thanks to our supporters. Check them out below:
- Signature: Leading awarding body for BSL qualifications
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. Find out about 6 awesome accessibility apps!
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- Eyewitness Media: TV and film from a Deaf perspective
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- Signworld: Learn BSL online!
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- Association of Notetaking Professionals: The professional body representing Electronic and Manual Notetakers
- Sign Solutions: communication support, training and translation
- InterpretersLive: On demand BSL video interpretation
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Ozen: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- deafPLUS: BSL advice helpline
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children
- Royal Shakespeare Company: Captioned and BSL interpreted performances (see dates here)
- Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Residential education for deaf children
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people