Friday, October 6, 2017

News: Rotherham racer gets to grips with starting a business

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Self-confessed petrol head, Gary Wilson, is experiencing the twists and turns of business having kick-started one of Rotherham's first dedicated bike training schools.

A lift into Rotherham on the back of his neighbour's motorbike as a youngster fuelled his love of two wheels, inspiring him to pass his bike test and go one step further to encourage others to share his love of bikes, becoming a qualified motorbike instructor by the time he was aged just 24.

Struggling to fund his increasingly expensive hobby, which now included racing in the Thundersport GB series, Gary worked in various jobs centred on the one area he felt confidence in; driving, with stints as a HGV and taxi driver whilst pursuing his passion behind the handlebars working as bike instructor in Sheffield.

Earlier this year, just weeks before he celebrated his 40th birthday, Gary decided to use his knowledge and expertise to turn his dream of building his own riding school into a reality – launching the first of its kind in Rotherham.

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With an extensive knowledge of motorbikes but no prior experience of owning his own business, Gary contacted Launchpad; a business support programme which provides free advice to those exploring self-employment for the first time. Working with an experienced business advisor, Gary learnt essential business skills such as bookkeeping, marketing and social media whilst also being advised on securing the funding needed to finally launch the business he had always dreamed of.

Since launching "Wilson's Rother Ride", Gary has chosen to reject the standard group training sessions commonly used when teaching first time bikers in favour of a more personalised service, which he believes helps riders to build confidence much more quickly as well as helping to encourage more women to take-up the hobby.

Wilson also works as a trackday instructor for No Limits trackdays and is now hoping to expand his business across South Yorkshire.

Gary Wilson, founder of Wilson's Rother Ride, said: "I have been a qualified instructor for over 15 years and I felt I was at a crossroads in my career and wanted to use my skills to teach people not only how to ride safely, but confidently. Many motorbike schools use group teaching which I felt didn’t necessarily act in the interests of a learner.

"I'd always liked the idea of working for myself, but I wasn’t really sure where to start, so I decided to contact Launchpad, who gave me confidence in my business idea and also offered specialist support, helping me to understand what it’s like running a business and becoming self-employed for the first time. Since I launched the business I've never looked back, and I think the way in which my lessons are delivered has encouraged more people, my own wife included, to learn how to ride a motorbike."

Julia Millea, business advisor at Launchpad, added: "The best business ideas are born from a passion or interest and Gary spotted a new way of delivering lessons, built around sharing his love of motorbikes, but when it came to running a business, it was clear that he needed the L plates!

"The Launchpad programme was developed to offer practical support, advice and guidance to individuals like Gary who have never run a business before. The programme is available to anyone in Rotherham who is thinking of starting their own company and provides access to a comprehensive range of workshops throughout the Sheffield City Region, as well as one-to-one support and advice."

Wilson's Rother Ride website
SCR Launchpad website

Images: SCR Launchpad


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