Mike Adams OBE


Mike is the CEO of Purple, a limited company which works to change the conversation about disability by bringing together disabled people and businesses: as customers, employees and entrepreneurs. Purple aims to change the narrative from focussing on inequality and disadvantage to focussing on potential and value. Purple aims to bridge the gap between disabled talent, disabled consumers, and the market, for the benefit of disabled people, business and wider society.

Mike was the CEO of the user-led disability charity Essex Coalition of Disabled People (ECDP). He has previously been part of the senior management team of the Disability Rights Commission and Co-Director of Coventry University’s disability Research Centre. In 2013 Mike chaired the government’s national Access to Work Expert Advisory Panel which produced over 20 recommendations for the government’s disability employment programme. ECDP has evolved into Purple, and expanded geographically: working in Essex, Cambridgeshire, Leicester City, Oxfordshire, Thurrock, and Redcar and Cleveland.

Purple supports disabled people with Direct Payments, managing personal budgets, recruiting a personal assistant or carer, and looking for work. Mike’s annual Purple Tuesday initiative emphasises the business case for inclusion to customer-facing companies. As there are around 13 million disabled people in the UK, the spending power of the ‘purple pound’ is around £249 billion. Purple Tuesday encourages businesses to make practical changes for accessibility, and has support from around 750 companies, including household names like Argos, Asda, Barclays, Sainsburys, and M&S.

Mike is highly visible as the CEO of Purple and has been on TV, radio, and online articles advocating for greater inclusion. In 2012, Mike was awarded an OBE for his services to disabled people. In 2014 he was listed on the Disability News Service’s list of the UK’s 100 most influential people. Until recently Mike was a Non-Executive Director of a UK-wide company which delivers social care.