MEET SIMON WHITEHEAD, CO-FOUNDER OF WHITE SPARK DESIGN
Q: Can you tell us a little about your business?
A: Keen cyclists and advocates of active travel, my co-founder and I have launched White Spark Design, with the aim to become a leading supplier of secure, sustainable, storage and charging solutions for bicycles and micro-mobility devices, such as e-Bikes, e-Scooters and e-Cargobikes. Our products range from single bike stores for the residential market up to shelters that can hold 20+ bikes for larger commercial settings. Our customers range from individual households to business organisations and public bodies across all sectors of the economy.
Q: What makes White Spark Design special?
A: We develop sustainably manufactured products and use carbon-reducing technology to decrease the reliance on polluting fossil fuels. White Spark Design’s goal is first and foremost to design and produce storage structures that are sustainable and manufactured in the UK, whilst being simple to use, secure and easy to deliver and install.
The aim is to work with UK designers and manufacturers to produce a range that is made from a recycled material such as ocean bound plastic. We will do this by designing and sourcing a standalone solar charging and battery storage system that can be easily incorporated into our stores or retro-fitted into existing structures, enabling carbon free charging. White Spark Design firmly believes that designing better allows people to buy fewer but higher quality things – the mantra being “Buy once and Buy well”.
Q: Where did your business idea come from?
A: We identified an opportunity in a growing market. Covid-19 and the required social distancing measures have resulted in the need to avoid crowded public transport networks and this has meant more than ever people are looking for safe and alternative ways to travel in and around our towns and cities.
A combination of this, and the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions, has meant the UK, Europe and rest of the world is in the midst of a boom in active travel, in particular cycling and micro-mobility, however fear of theft and lack of convenient and easily accessible storage are documented barriers to uptake.
Q: What attracted you to the programme, and what are you looking forward to the most?
A: We are super excited and honoured to have been selected. I am ready and raring to get stuck in and with the assistance from the programme, I firmly believe I can get White Spark Design up and running more quickly and on the road to success. Collaboration with other Somerset businesses, along with expert advice and guidance from the mentoring team to help get the business from an idea into reality is what we are most looking forward to.
Q: What are your business goals for the next 6-12 months?
A: The next six months will be focussed on sense checking and locking down the business plan, setting up manufacturing partnerships, design and developing the website so that by late Spring 2021 we will have our first products available to sell to the residential market. Within 12 months, White Spark Design would like to be established and have confidence to be able to compete for larger commercial contracts and roll out more products.
Q: Why do you think Somerset is such a great place to do business?
A: Somerset is a great place to live and work. I take inspiration from the beautiful countryside, and enthusiastic and talented communities that make up our county. As a region it is well connected to the rest of the country and innovation hot spots such as Bristol, making the opportunity of doing business an exciting one.