Shopkeeper Cycles His Way into the Prince's Trust Finals; BUSINESS AWARDS: Enterprising Welshman Could Win Pounds 4,000 Prize

Article excerpt

Byline: WILL SMALE

A FREEWHEELING entrepreneur will be flying the Welsh flag at the finals of the prestigious Prince's Trust Business Awards.

Jamie Rowlands, who owns and runs his own bicycle shop in Porth, Rhondda, will be representing Wales at St James's Palace, London, on Wednesday.

Mr Rowlands, 23, will be competing against 11 other finalists from around the UK, all of whom have been supported by The Prince's Trust Business Programme and demonstrated successful entrepreneurship.

Prince Charles will present the overall winner with his or her award and a cash price of pounds 4,000.

To get to the finals, Mr Rowlands showed exceptional skills in customer acquisition, financial management, innovation, and "going the extra mile".

After six months being unemployed, Mr Rowlands opened his shop - The Bicycle Doctor - at the end of 2000. Armed with a business plan and a long-held ambition to open his own bike shop, he received a pounds 500 grant and then a pounds 3,000 loan from the Prince's Trust.

The charity also matched him with a volunteer business mentor, Ron Giles, who ensured that Mr Rowlands received long-term aftercare.

After purchasing pounds 2,000 of initial stock Mr Rowlands set out to promote the business, specialising in mountain bikes. …