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BEEcycle is July's Featured Business of the Month

Fri, 31 July 2015

Shell LiveWIRE sat down with Kenneth to catch up on how the business has been going since he launched 6 years ago, and to see what’s next for BEEcycle.
Kenneth Cheung was 22 when he started his business BEEcycle in 2009 after graduating university with a degree in biochemistry. BEEcycle designs and creates products and gifts that have an eco-friendly connotation. 

The business initially concentrated on using microbes to help with composting, but now it focusses on designing and selling mini composters to schools to help educate children about recycling. Alongside this they also design products and gifts to sell online and wholesale and have a range of over 40 products. 
Shell LiveWIRE sat down with Kenneth to catch up on how the business has been going since he launched 6 years ago, and to see what’s next for BEEcycle.
What was the inspiration behind BEEcycle?
I always had a passion for business and starting something from nothing. At the same time I wanted to start something that could make a difference to the world. I can’t say I am there yet, but I am definitely platforming myself to something bigger!
How did you get into entrepreneurship? Did you always want to go into business for yourself?
I guess I always had this interest in business in me. I remember when I was in primary school I bought a large sticker sheet with lots of different cartoon characters on. I cut them all out and started selling these individually to my classmates to decorate their lunch boxes. I made quite a bit of money to spend in the tuck shops! 
When I went to University I decided to read biochemistry so that I would have a skill to fall back on, but on the side I also joined a lot of business societies and even started a small business selling sweets. My uni days helped enforce the idea of doing business after I graduated, rather than pursuing a career in science.        
What challenges did you face when setting up your business?
There were a LOT of challenges and I remember the many times where I thought to myself that this path wasn’t normal and I should’ve gone and got a job. In the beginning I had to scrape by financially in everything. I had to work part-time jobs in the evenings and weekends because my company wasn’t turning over any money during the starting-up phase.  I couldn’t go out and spend time with friends due to either lack of money or time. But I am so glad I carried on and stuck to it, my passion for business and the support from my close family and friends helped pull me through.
What is your proudest achievement with the business?
I felt that employing my first employee was a great achievement for me. Starting up a business can be quite a lonely journey and knowing that you are starting a team to work with to grow your business was scary but very exciting. Also knowing that you are directly making a difference to another person also helps boost your confidence to grow your business.
You won a Shell LiveWIRE Award back in 2009, how have things changed for you since then?

When I won the Shell LiveWIRE award I only had two products in my product line and now I have over 40! Not only did the award help in giving encouragement to carry on with what I was doing, it also helped my business gain a lot of exposure. I was really grateful for the free marketing it helped create. 
What’s next for BEEcycle?
Most of our customer base is in the UK right now, but we have started working on selling internationally to Europe and the US. We are all working hard to make that happen! 
What advice would you give to aspiring young entrepreneurs?
Don't give up on business easily if it is really what you believe in, but at the same time be flexible and change to adapt to the ever-changing market and environment. Surround yourself with people who will support you with your journey. You will no doubt have moments you feel like giving up. It is in these moments that you will want supportive people around you to help you carry on!
Got a Smart Idea for a Business?

Do you have a smart business idea that will provide a solution to the world’s future transport, food, energy, or natural resource challenges, or make our urban environments cleaner and more sustainable places to work and live in? If so you can apply online now for funding!

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