60-second start-up: The Bicycle Academy

0-5 seconds: Sum your business up in a sentence

The Bicycle Academy is a place to learn how to make bikes where you keep the skills and your first bike goes to someone who really needs it.

5-10 seconds: What's the business model?

We provide people with the skills and facilities to design and make their own bikes. As part of the learning process each student will make a frame designed specifically for use in Africa. Once graduated, students will be able to use The Bicycle Academy workshop to work on their own frame building projects at an affordable rate based upon time spent and materials used.

10-15 seconds: Who are your competitors?

The Bicycle Academy is relatively unique in terms of its business model so we don't have any direct competitors, though there are a couple of other bicycle frame building courses available in the UK.

15-20 seconds: What's your USP?

We provide the use of our workshop facilities and access to skilled personnel to all course graduates and we help people in the third world by producing and donating one bicycle per student.

20-25 seconds: How have you funded it so far?

I crowdfunded the start-up of The Bicycle Academy online; raising £40,000 in six days by offering rewards such as course places, T-shirts and bags in return for pledges.

25-30 seconds: What were you doing before?

I was, and still am, a mechanical design engineer working in the offshore energy sector - though hopefully I won't be for much longer.

30-35 seconds: Where did the idea come from?

I was trying to think of a way of helping bicycle distribution charities, at the same time as daydreaming about making my own custom bike to take part in a fun event. The two trains of thought became tangled up and the idea of The Bicycle Academy was born.

35-40 seconds: What's the smartest thing you've done so far?

I recently sought the help of some friends and mentors.

40-45 seconds: What's the stupidest?

Trying to do everything on my own, at the expense of my health and wellbeing.

45-50 seconds: If your business was a biscuit, what would it be?

Something simple and wholesome but tasty too, so I guess a homemade digestive with some honey in it.

50-55 seconds: What idea are you a bit jealous of?

I'm genuinely not jealous of any ideas; there are so many great ones, but I love the concept of The Bicycle Academy and what we are trying to achieve, so that's more than good enough for me.

55-60 seconds: Where are you going to be in 12 months' time?

With a following wind and plenty of hard work I hope that The Bicycle Academy will have already generated over 100 purpose made bicycles for people in need, and be the place to learn how to make bicycles in the UK.

For more information about the Bicycle Academy click here, www.thebicycleacademy.org

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