Pedal power helps Ben make a fresh start

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When Ben Wilson was made redundant, he didn’t give himself time to feel despondent.

Instead, the 21-year-old from Hawick decided to launch his own business just four weeks after losing his job.

The keen mountain biker has now opened the doors to Ben Wilson Cycle Services in the town’s Oliver Crescent, after benefiting from advice from Business Gateway Scottish Borders.

Having worked for another local bike repair service which recently ceased trading, Ben, an accredited Cytech bike technician, believed there was still a demand for a local repair, service and custom-build business – and his order book has proved him right.

He told The Southern: “I had worked for the other repair business for five years and when the owner decided to shut up shop it left me with two options – find a job that I didn’t love doing or open my own repair shop.

“Although I knew a lot about running a bike business, having learnt from my previous boss, I still needed to find out about business planning, bookkeeping and marketing. Business Gateway’s start up courses gave me everything I needed to know.

“My adviser also put me in touch with the Prince’s Trust Youth Business Scotland, who gave me a grant that helped me get started.

“The hardest part about setting up has been meeting the criteria to become a stockist for leading bike component distributors, but now that I have accounts with them everything has been plain sailing.”

Lyn Galloway, Business Gateway said: “Recent research highlights that one in five 18-34 year olds have a business idea, but need help getting it off the ground – just like Ben, who came to us with an idea that would help turn a negative situation into a burgeoning business.

“Our advice has armed him with the skills he needed to launch.”

With two road cycle clubs in the area and a large number of keen mountain bikers who use the trails all over the Tweed Valley, including Glentress and Innerleithen, Ben has a ready-made customer base to tap into.

“I’ve been a keen mountain biker since I was 11,” said Ben. “I love being out in the countryside, enjoying nature and the fresh air.

“I know a lot of the local cyclists, and social media and word of mouth have helped keep me busy.

“Over the next year, I hope to expand my customer base and continue to offer a good service to all my customers.”

For more information on Ben Wilson Cycle Services, visit www.facebook.com/benwilsoncycleservices

For more information on how Business Gateway Scottish Borders can help you start and grow your business visit www.bgateway.com/scottishborders or call 01835 818315.