A former machinist from Newtownabbey has turned his hobby refurbishing old alloy wheels and bicycle frames into a shot blasting and powder coating business with the support of the Go For It Programme through his local council Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.
Car and motorcycle enthusiast Chris Reid (26) launched Powdertek NI in January after spotting a gap in the local market for a professional shot blasting and powder coating facility in Belfast.
The purpose-built premises in Dargan Crescent specialises in powder coating and shot blasting services for the automotive industry, as well as household items such as gates, fences, railings, and garden furniture.
Since 2012 Chris had been powder coating old alloy wheels and motorcycle frames using a hand-built powder cure oven and spray booth as a hobby in his spare time.
It wasn’t until he was made redundant from his position with a local manufacturing firm in March 2017 that he contacted the Go For It Programme to help him transform his hobby into a business.
Chris Reid, Owner of Powdertek NI, said: “I’ve had a real passion for all things on two and four wheels since I was really young, especially restoring parts from old cars and motorcycles.
“My role as a machinist with a local manufacturing company allowed me to develop the necessary skills in shot blasting and powder coating, which I then honed on alloy wheels, bicycle and motorcycle frames, as well as the odd barbecue and radiator in my spare time.
“I had been researching the idea of starting my own business for nearly two years, but never really took it anywhere. However, my employers were making redundancies and this shock to the system really gave me the impetus to push on and get my own business up and running.
“The Go For It Programme offered tremendous support and my Business Advisor, Lawrence Greer from LEDCOM in Larne genuinely couldn’t do enough to help at each stage of the process. He really helped me focus my business objectives and work out my numbers with a clear and concise business plan. Once I had this I was able to secure the necessary loan to launch Powdertek NI.
I have been open less than a month and I’m already busy with various customers including major contracts.
“I have been open less than a month and I’m already busy with various customers including major contracts with local bicycle manufacturer Mango Bikes to powder coat their bike frames, as well as JRM Services for the refurbishment of alloy wheels.
“I am really looking forward to the year ahead. My ambition is to establish Powdertek NI as Northern Ireland’s leading powder coating and shot blasting specialist.”
The Go For It programme is delivered free of charge by a team of highly experienced business mentors through Northern Ireland’s wide network of enterprise agencies. It provides expert advice and help with developing a robust business plan in order to help turn ideas into a reality.
Lawrence Greer, Business Advisor with LEDCOM in Larne said; “Chris joined the Go For It Programme with a clear idea for a business and he had already done a significant amount of research into its viability to succeed, as well as having a number of future customer leads.
“We worked with him to develop his business plan, defining his objectives, target markets, sales strategy, marketing and financial forecasts, so we could clearly map out his route to success.”
“When he couldn’t access finance through his own bank, his business plan helped secure a business loan from the Enterprise NI Loan. We’re delighted to see him in his own premises, already taking orders.”
If you have a business idea you’d like to develop or if you are thinking about starting a business visit www.goforitni.com; call 0800 027 0639; or visit your local enterprise agency for a free, independent chat.