Drew Walker is one of the NEIS success stories at Business Foundations. Find out how he turned the wheel from unemployment to his dream business.

Drew Walker had worked for other people for several years but decided he wanted to be his own boss as he believed he could do a better job.

A friend told him about the Self Employment New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (commonly known as NEIS) after hearing him talk about his desire to own his own small business.

In October 2011, Drew decided to take the plunge and approached Business Foundations with the idea of setting up a small bicycle repair workshop.

He applied and was accepted for the NEIS scheme and began getting accredited training through Business Foundations in the management and operation of a business. He was also able to remain on assistance payments throughout the process.

The advice I would give to anyone else wanting to start a business is, do it and make sure it is something you love and believe in. Your heart has to be in it.

Drew says it had been a dream of his to run his own firm, but NEIS gave him the skills and knowledge to make that dream a reality.

“The most valuable thing I got from the NEIS training was to develop a business plan and cashflow projections,” Drew says.

He started with a small pop-up space in the Fibonacci Centre on Fremantle’s Knutsford Street offering a repair-only service for bikes.

Today, Captain Walker’s Bicycles has moved to a large retail space near Fremantle markets, where he sells a wide range of bicycles and accessories, makes custom builds and offers repairs.

“The most challenging thing has been trying to establish a healthy work life balance,” Drew says.

He has overcome the challenge of strong demand by employing permanent staff, which gives him more time to himself — including the chance to ride his own bicycle occasionally.

“The highlight has been watching my baby grow and evolve, and working on amazing bikes,” he says.

“I have control over what I want to do.

“The advice I would give to anyone else wanting to start a business is, do it and make sure it is something you love and believe in. Your heart has to be in it.”