Client Story


  • Location: Birmingham
  • Sector: Physical Health
  • Amount: £83K
  • Purpose: Equipment, Stock and Working Capital
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Meet Chris
Growing up in a deprived area of Coventry, Chris Coyle was introduced to cycling through an inner-City Council initiative. Prior to Ebikebrum, Chris ran a medical communications agency; and has a keen interest in health and well-being.

Key Fund gave Ebikebrum £83k grant and loan mix in February 2020 to fund equipment, stock, and working capital to expand the café’s activities. 


Ebikebrum opened their Cycle Shop and Café in 2018, providing a range of services from information about healthy lifestyle choices to full cycling activity programmes, specialising in electric bikes.

Aiming to introduce cycling to as many community members as possible, they run introductory cycling sessions giving free e-bike hire to have an hour out in the park, for all ages! It’s really to try and introduce cycling to as many community members as possible. Work with the wider community includes partnering with West Midlands Police on youth diversion projects and violence reduction.

The Challenge

In the first year, Chris worked to finalise his overall business plan, which centred on projects that ran from the café. Only a month after securing the investment Key Fund, the first national lockdown came into force. Chris found himself in a Catch-22. The investment was to help buy stock to help create more sales, and add sustainability to the business plan, but bike stock dried up overnight as the market for bikes exploded. The lockdown significantly hindered them in fulfilling their business objectives.

The closure of the café also left their small collection of community e-bikes unused. Unable to bring people to meet at the café and run normal cycling projects, they decided to donate a small bank of community e-bikes to NHS staff so they could safely get to and from work. Securing Covid funding led to a partnership with an NHS Trust, and the number of donated bikes rose to 40.

People in parts of the West Midlands are twice as likely to be admitted to hospital due to obesity. If 10% more 11-25 year olds get involved with regular physical activity, it would save the NHS £8bn across this group’s lifetime in terms of health interventions.

Chris – Ebikebrum

The Solution

Through lockdown, Chris and the team looked more closely at how to push that community focus forward, thinking creatively about how to keep the organisation going.

They created a virtual cycling platform for schools which encouraged engagement with cycling through a gaming platform. New initiatives also included working with schools to incentivise young people to cycle to school, offering free activities if they do.

The Feedback

If we hadn’t had Key Fund support, we’d have had to basically sit still. They understood it would be really sad not to see the organisation gain traction through the explosion of interest in cycling.

We’ve been received so positively in our community, we do think the future is quite strong for the organisation, but without Key Fund help we would have struggled to do anything.


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