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Less oil and more slick for corporate workers who launched £2m go karting business

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Back in 2013, Matt Holyfield and Alastair Flynn were working in the respective posts of Sage business advisor and Cisco IT specialist. 

Discontent with the corporate roles, the motorsport fans decided to pack it all in and focus on developing a go karting business – one which is set to generate a £2m turnover in 2015.

The pair raised £500,000 from friends and family to convert an abandoned East London Warehouse into what is now Capital Karts, the UK’s longest indoor track. The money was raised through a combination of friends, family and personal saving.

Holyfield decided he’d had enough of offering guidance and set out to take his own advice to get the firm running.

“Most of my professional career was spent advising people on what to do and what not to do in business, so I thought it was time to put my money where my mouth is,” he explained.

“When Alastair and I decided to go it alone we started with a blank piece of paper and were determined to set up a business we were both passionate about.

“Motorsport was the obvious choice for both of us as we are big fans of Formula One. After looking into the market we realised that there was a gap for a quality go-karting provider in the south east of England.”

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The business was profitable in the first year and the business grew by 70 per cent in 2014. This has led to the number of staff doubling from 2013, while 400 to 500 people are taking to the track at weekends. 

On 16 April, we looked at how startups can secure the loyalty of their employees with special perks – seemingly go karting is a popular choice. The company revealed businesses have been responsible for a lot of growth as corporate clients use the track for motivation and team-building.

 Holyfield continued: “We also wanted to change the image of the sport, moving it away from the ‘mechanic with the oily rag’ to a more professional and quality experience.

“Converting the warehouse into a track was the first challenge especially when you consider that its floor space is bigger than the pitch at Wembley Stadium. It was three and a half months of extremely tough work with both Alastair and I working seven day weeks to get the place converted.

“We had a committed team working with us but there was absolutely no question of us not rolling up our sleeves and mucking in. Both of us are really pleased with success of Capital Karts not just because of the success we’ve had but because we go to work each day doing something that we love.”

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