Start Up Loans Fund allocates cash to the new project

American style riding experience promised for new Cumbria Bike Park

Gnar Bike Park is set to launch in Cumbria using a loan from Business Finance Solutions (BFS), the North West delivery partner of the government’s national £310m Start Up Loans programme and a lending partner of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Gnar is set in 46 acres of Cumbrian woodland and plans to become a progressive mountain bike training facility. Owned and designed by mountain bikers for mountain bikers, Gnar owner Ben Eggleston is using a £6,500 Start Up Loan and a personal investment of £29k to launch the new facility which will offer daily tickets to ride the trails as well as bike hire, servicing and mechanical expertise, parts and retail sales, events, training and coaching courses.

The Start Up Loan funds will be used to cover the cost of groundwork machinery to complete the track and access road. Gnar’s future growth plans also include launching a mountain bike race league, launching woodland cabin accommodation on site and introducing on site food and drink outlets.

Owner Ben Eggleston, who was Cycle Centre Head of Department at Centre Parcs Whinfell Forest for seven years before launching this new venture, said: “This support from BFS has enabled me to be able to build on a 30-year passion for mountain biking and to create an incredible leisure facility in the beautiful Cumbrian countryside. 

“Gnar will be the the only UK bike park to offer an American style riding experience on trails that will allow visitors to enjoy and improve their mountain biking experience. Cycling is continuing to grow in popularity with all ages and we and the team at BFS can see that the size and scale of the project creates huge potential to expand the park’s services and facilities in the coming years.”

Alex Mearns, Loan Officer at Business Finance Solutions which is part of the Manchester Growth Company said: “Cycling and mountain biking in particular has enjoyed a real renaissance in this country, becoming a way of life for millions of people. Indeed, we are seeing a growing number of cycling related businesses coming to us for finance to support that trend – from a cycle themed café to this great outdoor facility.

“Ben has both the passion and the expertise to make Gnar a huge success and at BFS we have been delighted to support a venture with such growth potential that looks set to become a great addition to the Cumbrian leisure industry.”

BFS will see £15 million allocated to new start-ups across the North West over a two year period, creating around 3000 new businesses and over 5000 new jobs in the region. BFS is the finance arm of the Manchester Growth Company and supported by the GM Combined Authority and Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership. BFS is a key alternative source of funding for small businesses in Greater Manchester and has grown a comprehensive range of finance products from £500 through to £500k of loans delivered through a range of products including Start Up Loans, Micro Loans, Business Loans and Export Loans, with support on raising early stage equity through the Co Angel Investment Service of up to £2m. To date BFS manages over £88m of publically backed small business investments across the UK.

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