This month we met with Faruk Ojikutu, a local entrepreneur, creator of Mechanlink.
How long have you lived in Woodberry Down and what was it like growing up in the area?
I’m born and bred in Woodberry Down so that’s 21 years! It’s a diverse community with strong community values. I grew up playing football outside with other kids from the area and we all became like family.
What inspired you to start Mechanlink?
With the first car my brother ever got, we had a nightmare with mechanics. We’d pay for the car to get fixed and then a week later it would break again or another problem would come up – it was like a cat and mouse chase! We were wasting a lot of time and a lot of money trying to find good mechanics on google and still finding bad ones. Through that experience, I thought there needed to be more regulation of the independent market and more accurate reviews that people could access easily. I thought I could be that authoritative figure and that’s how Mechanlink came about. I’ve got that Woodberry Down hustle you see!
Where do you get your inspiration and support from?
My family and friends are my biggest support and inspiration. My friends are all people I’ve grown up with in Woodberry Down. All of us are ambitious in our respective industries and are all pushing to reach new heights. We all support one another in whatever way we can.
What’s next for you and Mechanlink?
Right now, I’m focussing on completing my placement year at university where I’m working full time to develop and promote Mechanlink as much as I can. Currently we’ve launched in London, Birmingham, Luton, Milton Keynes, Bedforshire and Hertfordshire. In a year, the aim is to be rolled out nationally and within five years, I’d like to expand into the European market. I’ve had contact from a few mechanics in Europe and the USA asking if I’m operating in their country and I’ve had to say not yet but we will be in a few years!
Mechanlink is available on iOS and android. You can also find out more at http://mechanlink.co.uk/index.html.
We met you at the last Woodberry Down business network event and were impressed to meet such a young entrepreneur. Can you tell us a little bit more about your company Mechanlink and what it does?
I started trading in March 2018 but I had the concept for a year or so before that, at which point I was doing lots of market research so I could look for trends and strategise how to conquer the market. Mechanlink is your direct link to local mechanics. We connect vehicle owners to experienced mechanics through our mobile app. This is done by allowing people to post their required needs onto the app and then matching them with the best suited technician.
Tell me more about the Woodberry Down hustle!
It’s been instilled in me to work hard and be brave with what I want to achieve. I’ve got no fear and I’ve got a real ‘why not’ attitude. I always want to make the most of whatever situation I’m in.
Have you had to overcome any challenges setting up Mechanlink?
At first I had a hard time getting mechanics on board and convincing them to use the service. Some of the garages asked me point blank, ‘how can you help me?’ I think some of them underestimated me because of my age and how I looked but I didn’t let that stop me. I just kept on pushing on. Marketing the business is also challenging because a lot of people don’t know a service like this exists so I’m still working on that and doing all I can to build up a digital presence for Mechanlink.