CORNER BROOK, NL, Oct. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - A summer job assembling bikes started avid cyclist Peter Ollerhead, 28, on the route to entrepreneurship. Today, he is pursuing his dream of making a career out of his favourite sport with Cycle Solutions, a thriving cycle, cross-country ski and snowshoe shop that employs up to 19 people and has grown to include a specialty coffee shop. In recognition of his business's steadily growing success, Peter has won BDC's Young Entrepreneur Award for Newfoundland and will be honoured tonight at a ceremony in Ottawa.
Seven years ago, while he was a university student, Peter created a summer job for himself building bikes and doing bike warranty work for big box stores. "I realized there was potential to do something more," he explains. "The next year we opened a bike shop. We kept looking at the next level and growing from there."
Growth and community involvement
Today, Cycle Solutions attracts customers from right across the province and beyond with its full range of services, which include equipment sales and rentals, four-season group events and tourism experiences. Through aggressive promotion with regional tourism resorts and businesses, the touring aspect of Cycle Solutions has really taken off in the last year. The business has also remained true to its roots, continuing to work in partnership with big box stores, assembling not only bikes but also a wide range of other in-store sports merchandise.
Its distinctly community-oriented focus makes the business unique. "We believe in building our customer base by increasing the number of people who participate in sports," explains Peter, who organizes events such as triathlons, cycling races and community snowshoeing at a rate of one event a week. The store is also an active member of various local business associations. Staff members teach bike maintenance and safety courses, and visit local schools to provide motivational talks on healthy lifestyles. They are active with local non-profit groups, and offer youth internships and programs.
Two years ago, Peter purchased a building and moved his business to West Street. "That's when I decided to open Brewed Awakening, our specialty coffee shop." Originally conceived as a means of driving more traffic to the shop, Brewed Awakening has itself become a destination for the local population. Peter has taken that side of the business to another level as well, starting up the only coffee bean roasting business in western Newfoundland.
"Peter's entrepreneurial spirit, his love of cycling and his community focus make for a great combination. With hard work and dedication, he has taken his business to progressively higher levels and realized his dream of making a living doing what he loves, " says BDC President and CEO Jean-René Halde.
"When I was a kid, my father would take me downtown and drop me off at a bike shop while he ran errands," says Peter. "I was so excited that I'd walk around the store shaking. I thought it would be great if I could make a living from bike riding. That was my dream from the start."
Recognition for young leaders
A major feature of Small Business Week, BDC's Young Entrepreneur Awards recognize the entrepreneurial spirit and the business and leadership accomplishments of Canadians between the ages of 19 and 35. Winners are selected by panels of business people from across the country who consider the originality of the business concept, success, growth potential and social involvement. They also take into account the entrepreneur's age when the business was started and any special challenges that were overcome.
2009 YEA and Small Business Week partners
Platinum partners of the 2009 Young Entrepreneur Awards and Small Business Week are Deloitte and Export Development Canada. Gold partners are Borden Ladner Gervais, and Maclean's.
BDC is Canada's business development bank. From more than 100 offices across the country, BDC promotes entrepreneurship by providing highly tailored financing, venture capital and consulting services to entrepreneurs. Visit www.bdc.ca for more information.
Small Business Week is a registered trademark of BDC.
SOURCE Business Development Bank of Canada
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