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Issue 344 – Frome business is in UK’s top 20 for start-ups

THE Bicycle Academy, a Frome-based initiative to teach students how to build bicycle frames, has been named as one of the top 20 start-up businesses of 2011 in the UK.

Leading website in start-up businesses, startups.co.uk, unveiled their top 20 new businesses of 2011 last month. Founder of The Bicycle Academy, Andrew Denham, used the crowdfunding website, peoplefund.it to raise £40,000 in pledges, in just six days, which will secure the business.
Broadcaster and food writer Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall presented the cheque for £40,290 to Andrew last month. Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall heads peoplefund.it which aims to expedite the funding of projects which are sustainable and green.
Andrew Denham, who is the mastermind behind Frome’s Cobble Wobble said, “It’s completely surreal. The Bicycle Academy has been a pipe dream for so long and now with the cheque in hand and this award, it’s just amazing. I have been working on The Bicycle Academy for over a year on weekends and evenings and it’s all come together. Hugh was a great guy, he was full of praise for The Bicycle Academy, saying what a great idea it is.”
The Bicycle Academy will offer a service that teaches people the necessary skills to build bicycle frames, with the first frame you build shipped to Africa to be used by a community.
Andrew managed to fund the company for the next 12 months by securing a series of pledges through the website peoplefund.it. Pledgers were rewarded for parting with their cash with a series of gifts. Those who pledged £20 would receive a free t-shirt. A pledge of £2,000 would net you the very first three-speed bike produced by The Bicycle Academy as well as send a bike frame to Africa, signed The Bicycle Academy yearbook, illustration, musette, t-shirt, badge, postcards and a thank you letter.
Andrew commented, “To have raised £40,000 in such a short space of time is amazing. The money has just come through so I’m now in a position to start setting up the workshop. I’m hoping to open the workshop in the spring.
“Those people who have pledged will receive their gifts in the next four weeks.
Joining Andrew at The Bicycle Academy workshop will be master frame builder Brian Curtis, who will be delivering frame building and brazing masterclasses.
”We’ve pre-sold the first 8-10 months of classes, but we are operating a waiting list,” said Andrew. “I would like to thank all those who pledged to get the company off the ground, it really is amazing.”
For more information about The Bicycle Academy visit www.thebicycleacademy.org

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