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Alumna named top Young Social Entrepreneur

A Queen Mary University of London alumna, Paralympic Games Maker and face of a recent national volunteering campaign has been named ‘Young Social Entrepreneur’ of the year by the leading provider of support to social entrepreneurs in the UK, UnLtd.

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Emily with Lord Coe during the 2012 Paralympic Games
Emily with Lord Coe during the 2012 Paralympic Games

English Literature graduate Emily Yates, 22, received more than 400 public votes in the UnLtd Lived It Awards for her work creating the ‘Accessible Guide to the Commonwealth Games’ – a travel guide to this summer’s Games in Glasgow for those with lesser mobility.

Emily, who was the first wheelchair user to cross the Sinai desert on a camel, hopes that the guide - which combines her love of travel, sport and writing – will be the first in a series aimed at broadening the world of travel to people with disabilities.

She is currently living in Rio de Janeiro, retrieving content for a guide to the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics, and working as an Accessibility Consultant for the underground transport system, MetroRio.

Emily says: “It is so great to know that accessibility is really being recognised as an important global issue, and I’m very proud to be a part of this venture.  Accessibility, in my mind, isn’t just about helping those of us who have disabilities either. I’m currently working on projects in Brazil that encourage multi-lingual information and signs as well as ramps, tactile flooring and hearing loops. To me, an accessible world allows us all to move and communicate freely, whether that’s through travel, sport or education.”

Third year Mechanical Engineering student James Johnson was also recognised in the UnLtd Lived It Awards, reaching the ‘Enterprise Award’ shortlist for both the judge’s and public choice with his cycling business Paradise Cycles.

Paradise Cycles was created in 2013 as a social enterprise focused on supporting a stronger cycling community, by offering workshops that teach cyclists how to repair their own bikes, whilst also offering affordable bike repair and custom bike building services.

Paradise Cycles is the first pop-up bike shop to operate regularly at QMUL’s Mile End campus, offering a valuable service to Queen Mary staff and students whilst generating significant revenue for its founders just eight months after its launch.

QMUL’s Careers & Enterprise Centre partners with UnLtd to deliver a programme of support for students and staff who want to set up social enterprises, comprising funding, 1-1 enterprise appointments, skills-based workshops, networking events and mentor matching.

The Lived it Awards are UnLtd’s first dedicated awards for young social entrepreneurs, recognising and showcasing the very best innovation, enterprise and impact. The Lived it Awards ceremony took place on Friday 16th May.

For more information about Emily and the Accessible Guide to the Commonwealth Games, visit: or her website

For more information about James and Paradise Cycles, visit: or

To find out more about how QMUL supports enterprise and entrepreneurship, visit the Careers & Enterprise website:

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