Cycling enterprise gets help to create more jobs

A social enterprise in the East End is hoping to double in size after being picked as one of the first businesses to benefit from a project to help create 1,000 jobs in the Olympic boroughs.

Bikeworks which offers cycle training and job opportunities in bike mechanics for people from disadvantaged backgrounds such as homeless people, ex-offenders and people with low skills is one of the first two companies to be supported by the Arc project launched last week.

London 2012 sponsors BP and Deloitte, together with the Business in the Community charity, have joined forces for the project aimed at providing advice on how to grow a business.

Bikeworks which recently moved to Cambridge Heath Road in Bethnal Green currently has 20 full-time staff, as well as a number of part-timers.

Its director Dave Miller said: “We’re hoping to double the number of full-time staff to 40 over the next two years. “We’re also training 50 people next year to become cycle mechanics or instructors and our minimum target is to get at least half of them into jobs elsewhere.”

Mr Miller said they will have to see how the project “pans out” but that they are expecting to receive advice on business investment and how to apply for funding and loans from staff at BP.

The arc project aims to support around 200 social enterprises over a four year period to provide work for residents in Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Newham Greenwich, Waltham Forest, and Barking and Dagenham.

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The other business to get immediate backing was Blue Sky Development and Regeneration, which provides paid work for ex-offenders.