What does your social enterprise do?
We utilise unwanted children’s bikes to revive them for those who don’t have the means to buy bikes. We use ‘unwanted’ members of our community to revive the bikes and support them to develop their own opportunities by encouraging enterprise and entrepreneurial thinking.
We provide the maintenance for Liverpool’s bike share scheme. This offers a platform to encourage more of our community and visitors to the city into the pleasures and benefits of cycling.
Why are you passionate about this cause?
I’ve supported some of our most vulnerable community members for over 20 years and particularly in my last five years as a qualified counsellor I have an idea of what creates self-determined individuals.
Through this experience I have developed a real personal interest in what keeps us all well. On one cycling holiday I noticed some changes in one of my friends who had struggled with alcohol misuse for a number of years. The realisation was that being in a supportive environment, exercising and becoming autonomous can be incredibly transformative. It was then that the Peloton concept was born!
What was your biggest challenge in starting your social enterprise?
The first challenge was leaving a well-paid and stable career to start the project with no investment, but the biggest challenge of all was overcoming my own fears about whether I could run a successful business. There have been times when I have been overwhelmed by the size of the task ahead of me. The SSE has helped me to break down elements into manageable tasks and this has helped me cope with the growing pressures and competing priorities.
How has the School for Social Entrepreneurs supported you?
The most helpful part of the SSE was working with like-minded individuals and the open and honest environment SSE provided. The support from tutors was invaluable as they believed in our ideas throughout. The expert sessions were very useful, particularly the practical elements, such as legal structures, marketing and how to be investable as a social entrepreneur.
My mentor was also incredibly helpful, offering an oasis of calm which allowed me to reflect impartially on the challenges that arise.
What are your plans for the future?
The length and breadth of our projects means that there are short, medium and long term goals. The long term goal, which has always been our aim, is to continue to use cycling and a positive cycling culture to create entrepreneurs, healthier communities and a world class city.
What would your advice be to a budding social entrepreneur?
For a start-up it’s a depressing world out there at times, full of naysayers, defeatist ideas and often a cynical approach to dealing with dysfunction within our communities.
The SSE is the antidote. Surrounded by open, driven students, wise and experienced tutors and illuminating frank established social entrepreneurs. It is a commune in the best sense of the word.
If you’ve been inspired by Daniel’s story take a look at our courses and see how we can help make your idea a reality.