ANNE BEDOS, the founder of Dublin not-for-profit bicycle business Rothar, has won the 2011 David Manley Emerging Entrepreneur Award.
A community-based business, Rothar (meaning bicycle) recycles and sells discarded bicycles and offers training to young people wishing to learn bicycle repairs.
Ms Bedos, a political scientist from France, founded Rothar in 2008 after working in community development for a decade.
The business, based in the north Dublin city suburb of Phibsboro, combines her love of cycling with a passion for creating employment opportunities at community level.
So far, Rothar has refurbished more than 250 bicycles, diverting four tonnes of waste from landfill in the process. Last year, it trained 45 young people in bicycle repairs, as well as offering education in the basics of business. Five such trainees have so far gone on to gain employment in other bicycle shops, a development described by Ms Bedos as “the virtuous circle of training and employment”.
Rothar makes money and thus sustains itself, employing two full-time staff and engaging about 25 volunteers, described by Ms Bedos as “fantastic, dedicated” people.
The David Manley awards are aimed at recognising and nurturing “the enterprising spirit” in business, the arts and the community. As winner, Ms Bedos will be awarded €10,000 in cash and more than €100,000 worth of mentoring and consultancy services.
Ms Bedos said she hoped to use her prize money to employ one more staff member and to help support the recent opening of a second training facility