Deaf Entrepreneurs

Marilyn Willrich and Nikki Stratton

What, Where? All Entrepreneurs
Coaching, training, consultancy
UK
Media
Sign Language Services

Zebra Uno Limited was formed in 2003. The company specialises in Deaf Awareness training for film and video work; delivering Deaf Awareness training to hearing clients in businesses, local and national government departments and other organisations.

(from the website:)

The directors, Marilyn Willrich and Nikki Stratton, are both Deaf native British Sign Language users. Both Nikki and Marilyn were born deaf and raised by deaf parents and grandparents. This gives the Directors a deep understanding of what it means to be deaf. In addition, both directors are highly qualified and have extensive experience in the field.

Nikki Stratton (left)

As well as appearing as a TV BSL (British Sign Language) In-vision interpreter for a wide range of channels such as Cartoon network, CBeebies, BBC, and Channel 4, Nikki won "Best Female TV Presenter" Award at the Remark! Film and TV Awards in November 2005.

Nikki was Project manager for Zebra's Young Deaf Filmmakers course (funded by Mediabox), produced 9 films that have screened across the globe. Importantly, as a result of this programme almost 70% of the students gained employment in the media industry.

Marilyn Willrich - previously Marilyn Bueno Del Carpio (right)

Marilyn Willrich is equally well known as a TV Presenter/Reporter. She's been a BBC See Hear and BSL Consultant/monitor for Channel 4's VEE TV programs as well as delivering a variety of training and consultation services across the UK.

Marilyn has also worked as a Senior Lecturer in BSL/English Interpreting and Deaf Studies course at the University of Wolverhampton. In November 2009, she won the "Best Actress" award at the Remark! Film and TV Awards Ceremony for her role in The Guest. Marilyn also directed the films The Allotment 2012, Mystery Moor 2011 and Gone with Time 2011 that was shortlisted for Best Short Film at the Clin d'Oeil 2011 Festival in France and Reims Film Festival in France.

  • Participant Deaf Enterprise workshop (IT)

    "It is now no longer matter of dreaming: we have discovered we have so many ideas it is a matter of putting them into practice! This workshop was an important opportunity, with many useful presentations and group discussions. I hope this same opportunity can be given to deaf individuals in other cities in Italy."

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "Keep an open attitude; co-operate with other Deaf business people. Use 'we' instead of 'I'."

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "I will only say: Go on! Use help from everybody, both from government and in your network. A lot of people are helpful by sharing information and so on."

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Making mistakes is okay and you learn most from this. Don't afraid to ask for help if something is wrong."

  • Participant Deaf Enterprise Workshop (IT)

    "It has been amazing, I am really satisfied because I have learned so much during these days and I think I have looked into myself and found very interesting insight which will be useful for my life. I believe this is the same as all other participants feel."

  • Clark Denmark (Trainer at the UCLan workshop)

    "The workshop was extremely worthwhile; especially when one considers there has been nothing of its type in the UK before."

  • Ramon Woolfe (Trainer at the UCLan workshop)

    "The level of quality engagement was so great that we often would not have enough time in the day to discuss all the points the participants wanted to discuss and would often spill over into our tea break or lunchtime to continue the discussions.

    All of which shows how great the need is by Sign language users to have this direct dialogue in their own language."

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "Perseverance and guts! Develop resilience to deal with adversity as this will help you get stronger and believe in your business."

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "Talk to other business owners, ask them about their successes and their failures. Don't be scared to ask for help. You do not need to do it by yourself."

  • Clark Denmark (Trainer at the UCLan workshop)

    " Therefore, without Deaf role models being here it would be difficult for many Deaf participants to imagine and believe in what they could achieve."

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "Keep fighting, don’t give up!"

  • Jakob Gade (DK)

    "The best way to create more jobs for deaf people? More businesses run by deaf entrepreneurs!"

  • Ramon Woolfe (Trainer at the UCLan workshop)

    "There are plenty of opportunities for Deaf people to set up their own business not just in the traditional areas of teaching sign language and interpreting services but also in all areas of the economy from retail, to service industries such as restaurants, leisure such as a gym.

    I really would like to see more Deaf entrepreneurs showing that they can do it.

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "Most of all, be passionate! Know and love your subject well!"

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "I only will say: Go on! Use help from everybody, both from government and in your network. A lot of people are helpful with sharing informations and so on."

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "You can do anything if you put your mind to it. Your deafness does not define your business skills. You are thinking with your brain, not your ears."

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "Go for it. Follow your dream. Keep persisting and ask lots of questions. Don’t give up. Seek advice from friends, family and look outside the box."

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Making mistakes is okay and you learn most from this. Don't afraid to ask for help if it's something wrong."

  • Clark Denmark (Trainer at UCLan workshop)

    "In the past Deaf people have had to travel many miles to find a course which is then predominantly hearing people and hearing led. This has made participation and involvement very problematic for Deaf people who have said comments such as: “I didn’t understand what the trainer was saying.” Also, “I found it difficult to mix with others in the group.”

  • Participant Deaf Enterprise Workshop (IT)

    "The Deaf Enterprise workshop has been incredible: each one of us worked intensively on understanding the way to take to achieve our dreams; each one of us was able to express their doubts regarding talents and difficulties we might encounter.(..) Each one of us was able to contribute so as to find the key to unlock our personal journey and fulfil our dreams."

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "Try it, nothing to lose."

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "Asking Feedback is important. Then I look back and ask different people about their experiences. What is going well? What can be done better? I often hear new things and I learn. That helps your company improve."

  • Ramon Woolfe (Trainer at the UCLan workshop)

    "By the end of the workshop they all displayed a renewed confidence to be able to go home and act upon their aim of setting up their business idea."

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