The Mountainbike Centre of Scotland, based at the Glentress trail centre in the Scottish Borders, has plans to grow its business incubation services, and become the go-to place for MTB product testing, not just in Scotland but globally. It has aspirations to become the mountain bike version of Snowpolis in Finland. This is an equipment testing centre based on a technology park close to an outdoor recreation area and was formed around the Department of Sports Technology of the University of Jyväskylä.
The Mountainbike Centre of Scotland gives grants to Scottish MTB companies but can also provide business support to English companies, or from further afield.
The support already on offer includes market research, development links with academia via Edinburgh's Napier University and, of course, testing on the world-class MTB trails of Glentress.
Graeme McLean, project manager of Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland, told BikeBiz:
“The concept [of Snowpolis] was inspiring to us in the early days of looking at what might be possible for mountain biking in Scotland.”
He added: “Scotland has a world-class reputation for our trails and participation. Now we want to capitalise on the opportunity that product sales bring.”
As well as product testing and market evaluation help from Napier University the Mountainbike Centre of Scotland also has close links with Borders College in Galashiels. This operates the BASE Mountain Biking course via the Borders Academy of Sporting Excellence which offers students BTEC qualifications in mountain biking.
Last year the Mountainbike Centre of Scotland paid for the “Scottish pavilion” at Eurobike and showcased seven bike-related brands, including Scottoiler, Free Flow Techologies, an electric bike brand, and Launch Components, a gravity MTB brand with, among other trick parts, a 270 Euros 300g magnesium pedal.
Also at Eurobike was Alex Feechan who was seeking distributors for Freedom Foxx, her new womens’ MTB clothing collection. The brand is now called FINDRA.
She said: “I found that the clothing available to me as a female mountain biker was pretty uninspiring and, although fairly functional, didn’t make use of the range of fabrics I was used to working with. I also felt that the styles could be more modern and exciting too.”
Her business was helped by attending an Innovation Clinic at the Mountainbike Centre of Scotland.
“I had a fair idea of what I was hoping to achieve with a women’s specific range of mountain bike apparel. However, attending the innovation clinic at Glentress was very useful to understand the level of support offered to businesses through academia, Scottish Enterprise, Sporting Chance Initiative and Business Gateway. It was also really useful to have my ideas validated and gain encouragement that I should continue to develop my ideas.”
The Mountainbike Centre of Scotland is a joint initiative between Scottish Enterprise, Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland and Napier University of Edinburgh.