Having mentored a refugee whilst at university, Jem Stein was inspired to create The Bike Project in 2013 to provide second-hand bikes for free to refugees in and around London.
Public transport in London can be incredibly expensive, making it difficult for people to get access to key services. By providing bikes to refugees, The Bike Project is giving them the opportunity to reduce their living costs by having access to free transport in the city. This means they have improved accessibility to healthcare, education and social activities.
Just one abandoned or donated bike can save a refugee over £1,000 a year on bus fare. In their first year The Bike Project donated a bike to 300 refugees, making a collective saving of £312,000.
As well as providing free bikes, the organisation also offers an inclusive and supportive community for refugees to learn new skills through active workshops.
Jem has been supported in his journey by the School for Social Entrepreneurs through their Start Up programme and then their Scale Up programme, which they run in partnership with Lloyds Bank.
Recently, Jem was named Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 after winning the most votes from the public.
On winning the award Jem said: “I am thrilled to win the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award. I am incredibly fortunate to have learned from the fantastic team as part of the Social Entrepreneurs Programme and working with other entrepreneurs has been so valuable to both my own development and to The Bike Project. The £10,000 prize will do a huge amount to help the project continue to expand and support refugees across London.”