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Veuve Clicquot Design Entrepreneur Award: David Constantine

The Veuve Clicquot Design Entrepreneur Award was awarded to David Constantine, who designed an affordable wheelchair suitable for wheelchair users in the developing world. The Design Entrepreneur Award seeks to reward individuals with an entrepreneurial flair to their design approach. 

David Constantine MBE is co-founder of Motivation, a charity which sets up self-sustaining projects to improve the quality of life of people with mobility disabilities in developing countries. In 1989, Royal College of Art students David Constantine and Simon Gue were tasked with designing a wheelchair suitable for use in developing countries. The duo created a wheelchair design robust enough to cope with potholes and uneven ground and made from affordable, locally available materials which was very well received, ultimately winning them the Frye Memorial Prize.

The pair teamed up with their friend Richard Frost and used their prize money to travel to Bangladesh, where they built their wheelchair for a disability organisation in Dhaka. It went down so well that the organisation asked the team to help them start producing the wheelchairs on a larger scale. Recognising that people with disabilities were the poorest of the poor and that an appropriate wheelchair was the fastest route out of poverty, the team needed little convincing.

In 1991, David, Simon and Richard established Motivation, raised funds in the UK and returned to Dhaka to start their first wheelchair workshop. From there, they set up wheelchair workshops in Poland, Indonesia and Russia. Twenty-one years on, Motivation is internationally recognised as a leader in designing, producing and distributing high-quality, low-cost wheelchairs for developing countries. So far, our products and training programmes have reached over 135,000 people in 90 countries around the world.

Supported by Veuve Clicquot.

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