Staring a new business is always challenging and wrought with risk, but starting a successful new enterprise during a recession is doubly difficult. However, if you have a clear enough vision of what you want to achieve and are willing to put in the effort there are ample rewards for your risk.
This has been the case for Giveacar, a social enterprise set up in January 2010 by recent university graduate Tom Chance.
Chance’s idea was to take car donation, a concept that had been successful here in the US, and start up the first scheme across the pond in the UK.
The idea came to him while still at university and dealing in old cars to raise money for his studies. Realising that many people would accept almost nothing for their unwanted car just to have it taken away, he saw a gap in the market.
After conducting further research and seeing the popularity of car donation in the States, Chance launched Giveacar from his bedroom. He started up the Giveacar website and gained his first customers through his own marketing initiatives.
Initially donating the entire sum he received for the donated car, he soon started taking a small percentage of the proceeds from each scrap car and reinvesting them in his business. After 5 months he was able to move the business out of his bedroom and hire another member of staff to cope with the escalating demand for his service.
A year on and Chance now has a staff of three working of Giveacar’s office in central London. He has also caught the attention of the local and national press including the prestigious London Times. Still very much in its infancy Giveacar has already raised more $300,000 for good causes across the globe. More than 250 charities have signed up to the scheming pledging their word to help raise awareness.
2010 was a great year for Chance and Giveacar, and 2011 is set to be even better. It just goes to show that even during the dark and gloomy days of an economic downturn there is success to be had for those that can spot and opportunity and are willing to put in the effort to make it a reality.