Bowen Island, Mainland/Southwest
Bowen Island, Mainland/Southwest
We are Bowen Island’s eBike Rental company: Bowen eBikes. We rent electric bikes from Snug Cove (20 meters from the ferry). We love exploring this island on our bikes and hope you will too!
In Business Since 2016
Best Youth Entrepreneur
What motivated you to start your business and what is your vision for the future of your company?
When COVID-19 began, my other business was suffering. I was primarily generating income in my web-based business from contracts with Music Festivals and they were forced to close down. My wife saw some eBikes and asked if I would like to get some for ourselves for riding the hilly terrain on Bowen Island. I remembered a story about a farmer in Alberta who bought 7 hay silos, and would sell off 6 of them, so his would be free. I proposed why not get 4 and rent them for the summer to pay for the rest of the eBikes. I designed a quick website and set about sharing this new venture with the community. Our first client wanted 8 eBikes! So with trepidation, I went back to the store and bought 4 more eBikes on credit. Little did we know the demand was very high for cycling and 'escapist' day-trips from Vancouver were becoming more popular as people looked for new ways to get outside. The blinds were opened and I was loving the daily, yet distant, interactions with a wide variety of people. I stumbled through all of the growing pains of the first year of owning a new business like most entrepreneurs: anticipating one problem, solving it, and then finding three more. What fueled me most was seeing the smiles we brought to the faces of tourists and locals alike. I had built a business in the interest of sharing what beautiful Bowen Island has to offer and helping people stay active in a COVID-safe way. I've since outgrown my home-based business and moved Bowen eBikes to its first store-front operation. Our core purpose is to provide sustainable transportation options to people who are looking for adventure and we'd like to get to one million smiles. I see an opportunity in providing a similar service or franchise offering to other island communities in BC, getting more cars off the road and more smiles on eco-friendly riders.
Why do you deserve to win the Best Youth Entrepreneur award?
I had a choice when my first web design business closed due to the pandemic. I could have taken government subsidies and looked for a job, but I took a risk. All of our eBike inventory and related materials were purchased through my own credit. We started a business in 6 days, and had our first riders on Day 8. While I took on most of the risk, I was happy to have my wife's support to get this business up and running through our first few months. Later in the summer, as our client base grew, we hired two university students who had limited job prospects due to COVID-19 to help run the business during August 2020. It is a personal joy of mine to not only have been able to contribute to the economic rebuild of our province, but to also offer employment locally. Now that I have transitioned this to my full time occupation, I am looking to employ people this summer. We have taken this business from nothing to a known name on Bowen Island. We accumulated just about 60 reviews all of them 5 stars on Trip Advisor and Google in two months. Bowen eBikes was also recognized as the Best Vancouver StartUp of 2020, as voted by readers of the Georgia Straight. All of this is very exciting and rewarding work. If I was named the Best Youth Entrepreneur by Small Business BC, I hope my story would inspire other sideline entrepreneurs to not be discouraged by the pandemic, but instead look for ways that they can serve their communities in new and different ways.