Adam’s Bike Repairs proves disability no barrier to entrepreneurship

Disability should not stop anyone with a great idea from chasing a dream.

It did not stop Adam Thomas.

The Murray Bridge man opened his own bike repair business on Thursday, in a workshop behind the Third Street office of Community Living Australia (CLA).

Every Wednesday he will open his doors to anyone with a mechanical problem that needs fixing, or to work on repainting and restoring old cycles that need a little TLC.

"At first it was just like a hobby," he said.

"I've got more at home.

"I can't remember how many I've been through."

For years he had fixed bikes in his garage, but his previous attempts to turn professional had run into difficulty.

Now, backed by a $1500 grant from the CLA Foundation and with help from his dad on a business plan, he has finally found a way to express his entrepreneurial spirit.

Tools and spare parts line the walls of his workshop, and a dozen bikes are there in various states of repair; some are freshly painted.

"Sometimes I'll do them multi-coloured, one half one colour and one half the opposite colour; sometimes all one colour," he said.

Before a crowd of about 20 people, beneath a marquee, he thanked everybody who had helped him reach his goal.

CLA's Lisa Hutchison said the micro-business had been in the works for more than 18 months, and that Mr Thomas and his supporters had put in a lot of hard work: applying for a tax file number, ABN and credit union account, registering a business name; arranging signage; and securing safety equipment.

"There were a lot of hurdles to overcome: not only the fact we're dealing with disabilities but the legal things like getting permission to use the shed, public liability and so on," she said.

"They all deserve a big pat on the back."

Now that Mr Thomas had proven it was possible, she said, other CLA clients were likely to test their own business ideas.

"There are a lot of opportunities for a lot of these guys to do more of this sort of thing," she said.

"I hope they look at it and say 'if Adam's done it, I can do it'."

Mr Thomas will continue to work part-time as a maintenance worker with Community Living Australia while he pursues his dream.