Press release -

People power now raising funding for new businesses - over £40,000 raised in 6 days by

Fledgling enterprise, The Bicycle Academy, is now in business after being taken on by a new website developed by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s team.

The money was desperately needed to establish an innovative bicycle building academy, teaching students how to construct bike frames which will then be distributed across Africa through partner charities. The bikes can help provide a vital transport link to food, water and education.

The academy were thrilled when they hit their target. Andrew Denham, founder and organiser says, ‘ We couldn’t be happier. We’ve been working towards this for some time, so it’s a great feeling knowing that we’ll definitely be setting it all up as planned. The response to our Peoplefund campaign has been overwhelming, not only did we sell all the available course places but we’ve generated a healthy waiting list too.’ enables people with a potentially world-changing business idea to ask the general public for the funding they need to set up or expand. The business sets a target for the money it wishes to be raised and explains how it will use the cash. People can then make pledges for small amounts of money in return for a ‘reward’ if the target is reached.

Nick Underhill, says ‘It’s a simple, powerful idea. Business ideas can come from anywhere as long as they solve a 21st century challenge. Pledges start at £1 and money doesn’t leave anyone’s account until the target is raised. We are looking for good ideas that may just make a global difference and we want to empower people to take positive action.’

Zac Goldsmith, MP, has been following the project with interest and notes ‘What has achieved already for the Bicycle Academy is impressive. It’s a sign that people are prepared to roll up their sleeves to back and support ideas which make a difference to the world – that’s what Big Society is all about.’

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, chef, campaigner, broadcaster and director of Keo Films (the team who have created says, ‘“The success of our Fish Fight, Landshare, and Chicken Out campaigns have shown that solutions and impetus often come from grass roots collective action, and have the power to effect more remarkable change than we really ever imagined. builds on that momentum and gives people the means to take their ideas forward. We want it to be a fantastic tool for entrepreneurs and idealists who capture the popular imagination.”’ might just change the world…



About KEO digital

KEO digital produces sites and apps that empower the public to make a
real difference to their everyday day lives and help organizations,
corporations or governments to make positive change for themselves,
their audiences and ultimately the world. KEO digital was born out of
the development and management of the hugely successful Chicken Out
Chicken Out website that accompanied Hugh’s Chicken Run series in
2009. The division has drawn on much of the talent responsible for the
digital output of River Cottage, which currently encompasses a
community of over 500,000 people on the award-winning River  Since it started KEO digital has created further
successful campaigns and projects, notably Fish Fight which has
achieved a review of the EU Common Fisheries Policy by gathering over
750,000 names on an online petition, and Landshare.

About KEO

KEO is an integrated broadcast, commercial and online production
company that is growing fast. KEO develops and produces content that
has something to say, and has a reason to exist beyond achieving
ratings. The company's innovative approach has resulted in its
programming becoming both ratings powerhouses and award winners, a
fact well illustrated by KEO’s most recent production slate, which
includes the multi-award winning Welcome to Lagos, a three part series
for BBC2 that recently won the award for ‘Best Factual Series’ at this
year’s BAFTA Television Awards, the 2011 RTS Award for ‘Best
Documentary Series’ and the 2011 Broadcast Award for ‘Best Documentary
Series; Hugh’s Fish Fight, an online campaigning portal and three part
series for Channel 4, which also picked up a 2011 BAFTA Television
Award for ‘Best Features Documentary’; Amish:The World’s Squarest
Teenagers, a four-part series for Channel 4 and River Cottage Everyday
(10x60), also for Channel 4.

About Forum for the Future

Forum for the Future is a non-profit organisation working globally
with business and government to create a sustainable future. We have
15 years’ experience of inspiring new thinking, building creative
partnerships and developing practical innovations to change our world.


NESTA is the UK’s foremost independent expert on how innovation can
solve some of the country’s major economic and social challenges. Its
work is enabled by an endowment, funded by the National Lottery, and
it operates at no cost to the government or taxpayer.   It is a world
leader in its field and carries out its work through a blend of
experimental programmes, analytical research and investment in
early-stage companies.

Press contact:

Jake Lea-Wilson +44 (0) 207 490 3580 extn. 1044

Dawn Bebe 07831790416


  • Social issues


  • funding
  • start-up
  • enterprise
  • river cottage
  • crowdfunding
  • crowdsourcing


  • England

Peoplefund might just change the world. Peoplefund backs game changing ideas which solve some of the biggest challenges of the 21st Century.