Watching his dad transform his carpentry hobby into a contracting business helped inspire 10-year-old Greg’s dream to one day own a business. When he grew up – turning 29 this past summer – Greg realized his dream by merging his love for cycling with the transportation industry to create a taxi service called Little Rock Pedicab in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Greg took four months to put his thoughts together, order bikes, purchase insurance, and become licensed; he’s currently waiting on inspections to approve the bikes before he can completely operate. “One thing I’m trying to process is making sure it’s a safe and enjoyable ride,” Greg says. “I just want people to enjoy themselves and not be concerned about the ride.”
He also carefully researched the pedicab industry to be certain he made the safest cabs possible. For example, when he discovered many bicycle wrecks were reported because trolley tracks are wide enough for bicycle tires to get stuck between, Greg outfitted his pedicabs with wider motorcycle tires that can’t get stuck. He also learned that Arkansas come in last among the United States when it comes to bicycle participation – so he is now on a mission to improve that rating.
Greg’s pedicabs carry up to 700 pounds and have a top speed of about 20 miles per hour. However, he doesn’t think he’ll be going that fast. “When you take your time getting somewhere, you actually get to see the world around you and really enjoy it,” he says.
At the moment, Greg employs himself and rents to a handful of subcontractors who serve as drivers. He hopes to grow a demand for pedicabs in Little Rock and then expand, but he says he would not be at this point in his business had he not received a loan from Accion Texas Inc. While looking into lenders, Greg found the majority of them required a business owner to already be in business before they were considered for a loan. Accion was one of the only lenders he found that assisted start-up businesses.
The majority of his loan went to purchase the pedicabs, the rest went to insurance and other start-up costs. “The Accion Texas loan really started the process of owning my own business. Without it, I wouldn’t have started my business now. I would have had to wait for years, because most lenders wouldn’t lend to beginners.”
Greg says, “Thanks to Accion for helping me accomplish the dream I had since I was a kid. Traditional banks didn’t believe in me, but talking to people at Accion made me feel that they believed in me, the person behind the business. Thanks for believing.”
LiftFund. (www.liftfund.com) is an award-winning nonprofit organization (previously known as Accion Texas) with a mission to provide credit and loans to small and start-up businesses that have limited or no access to credit from commercial sources. Established in 1994 in San Antonio, LiftFund has helped Texas and Louisiana entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses, stabilize and increase their incomes, create employment, and contribute to the economic revitalization of their communities. Learn more at www.liftfund.com.