Business model: Bikeworks

An east London social enterprise with training contracts with the local council

Bikeworks is a social enterprise based in east London that offers a number of services such as cycle training and bike recycling. It also provides homeless people with employment repairing bikes.

It has been trading since March 2007. Dave Miller, one of the two co-founders, says: "I had started to raise money for a business based around bike recycling when I met Jim Blakemore, my co-founder, who had drawn up a plan based around bike training and disabled cycling. "We chose to form a community interest company, which hasn't helped or prevented us from doing much, but it has been good for marketing."

The business started off with several small grants, but it soon began to generate cash.

Because it had low overheads and employed sessional workers, Bikeworks was able to offer training services to councils and use the revenue generated from that to set up other schemes. Miller says the fact that Bikeworks was able to win a large contract with Newham Council early on lent it legitimacy and provided evidence that the concept would work. The three training contracts it now has with London boroughs make up about half its income.

Miller and Blakemore have plans to grow the organisation into a much larger one. "But it was hard going for a while," says Miller. "You have to be prepared to get through that.

"We've also tried other things that haven't worked. It's important to be able to see when something doesn't have legs and get ready to try something else."

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +

Latest Jobs

RSS Feed

Third Sector Insight

Sponsored webcasts, surveys and expert reports from Third Sector partners

Markel

Expert Hub

Insurance advice from Markel

Cyber and data security - how prepared is your charity?

With a 35 per cent rise in instances of data breaches in Q2 and Q3 last year, charities must take cyber security seriously

Third Sector Logo

Get our bulletins. Read more articles. Join a growing community of Third Sector professionals

Register now