Promoted by Mark Ward-Jones on behalf of the Torfaen Constituency Labour Party at 27 Brunel Road, Fairwater, Cwmbran, Torfaen NP44 4QT.
Yesterday on 17th August Frog Bikes, the makers of lightweight children’s bicycles, celebrated the opening of its new factory in South Wales. The Frog team were joined by Nick Thomas-Symonds MP, Lynne Neagle AM, local bike stores, and representatives from HSBC and the Welsh Government who have been so supportive of the new venture.
Visitors were able to meet the assembly team, and see first-hand how the lightweight bikes are made. From threading spokes into wheel hubs, truing the wheels, adding brakes, gears, cables, handlebars and saddles, right through to the final checks before bikes are boxed and go out to stores – there are over 120 different component parts to each bicycle! Some of Frog’s latest models were on display as well, including the Team Sky range and – new for 2016 – the Union Jack design supported by double Olympic gold medallist Joanna Rowsell-Shand.
The 120,000 sq ft site in Mamhilad Park Estate, Pontypool is Frog’s first manufacturing facility in the UK and will lead to the creation of up to 50 new jobs over the next few years. With ambitions to be as environmentally friendly as possible, Frog uses low voltage lighting, electricity from renewable sources, and is developing novel reusable and low carbon packaging.
Nick Thomas-Symonds MP said: “I am delighted to see the creation of quality jobs locally. Frog Bikes manufacture innovative products, and I thoroughly enjoyed my tour of the production line. It is great to see such teamwork with partners including our local Council and the Welsh Government working together to make this happen.”
Jerry Lawson, Co-founder of Frog Bikes said: “We are absolutely delighted to celebrate the factory opening today. It will enable us to be more responsive to the market, have more control over quality, introduce innovations faster, reduce our environmental footprint, and create jobs to benefit the local economy. There were times during 2015 when we couldn’t keep up with demand, and customers were left disappointed. We recognised that the time had come to re-shore our production model.”
Mark Emmerson, Head of Global Trade & Receivable Finance for HSBC UK, said: “Throughout HSBC’s partnership with Frog Bikes, we’ve been delighted to provide tailored funding and guidance to support Shelley and Jerry’s ambition to launch the UK production of their bikes. Frog Bikes is an outstanding example of an entrepreneurial business evolving to meet the needs of its customers, as well as looking for solutions to support the local economy. It’s fantastic to now see the project reach completion and we have no doubt that the new facility will support the company’s continued growth.”
Economy Cabinet Secretary Ken Skates said: “I am delighted Frog Bikes – a highly innovative and specialist business – chose to locate its first manufacturing facility in Wales. The company is a very welcome addition to our advanced materials and manufacturing sector and I am pleased Welsh Government support will help create a significant number of new jobs. I wish the company every success in the future as it grows the business in Wales.”
Frog Bikes is the brainchild of husband and wife, Jerry and Shelley Lawson. When they started to teach their own children to cycle, they felt that most kids’ bikes in the market were heavy and poorly designed. Working in conjunction with Brunel University sports scientists and Team GB Olympic bike designer Dimitris Katsanis, Frog Bikes has continually evolved with the aim of being as comfortable and efficient as possible for young riders. The range of bikes can be bought through 900 independent bike stores throughout UK and 30 countries overseas.
Frog Bikes was recognised as the Export Business of the Year at the Start-ups Awards in 2015, reflecting very strong European demand for their lightweight bikes.