Inclusion and Diversity

Just Enterprise – Ability Academy

We recently had a chat with Nigel Honey about Ability Academy, his disability-led organisation focusing on education for TV and Film. 

What does your social enterprise focus on?

I was told I would never be a Film Editor because of my invisible disability. I have since successfully edited films for Aberdeen, Cannes, Raindance, Edinburgh International and BAFTA Film Festivals.

Ability Academy’s motto is ‘Taking the Dis out of Disability in Film and TV Training’. Our training focuses on student’s natural abilities rather than focus on their disability.

Why did you choose to become a social enterprise?

My own struggles to get into TV and Film with a disability inspired me to set up my own Academy focusing on ‘ability’ rather than ‘disability’.

When did you access business support from us and what questions did you have for your business advisor? 

I received start-up business support in 2019 with two Business Advisors, Brian McMillan and Emma Ives. I mainly focused my questions on setting up a board for a social enterprise, which was an area that was new to me. I originally also set up my legal structure incorrectly and had to start again which I found confusing but with the support from my Business Advisor, I was able to find the right social enterprise legal structure for Ability Academy.

How did start-up support help you in your journey to becoming a social enterprise?

The start up support give me confidence in my leadership skills, and also allowed me to work on my networking skills. Without it, I don’t think I would have achieved as much. This has allowed Ability Academy to gain recognition such as winning the Great British Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2023 for Creative Companies in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Do you have any advice for someone who is considering reaching out for start-up support through Just Enterprise?

I would highly recommend anyone looking to set up a social enterprise gets in touch with Firstport’s start-up support through Just Enterprise. After receiving the one-to-one business support, I was more confidently able to apply for funding from Firstport, of which I was awarded both Start It and Build It.

What is next on the horizon for Ability Academy?

We are currently working on getting more training online for our users with inclusive British Sign Language signing and subtitles.

Find out more about Ability Academy on their website and by following them on Instagram, LinkedIn and X (Twitter).