Two North East fitness entrepreneurs are aiming to take the CrossFit concept to the next level after winning a six-figure investment from the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund.
Jordan Wallace and Colin Carter have moved their Reebok CrossFit Tyneside operation into a purpose-built 13,500 sq ft space in Ouseburn to capitalise on the growing demand for both CrossFit classes and more traditional high-quality fitness facilities.
Six new jobs have initially been created at the facility on Ouse Street, which officially opened at the start of the new year – and the management team is hoping that it will be the first of a number of similar centres that they will open around the region in the future.
Regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers has worked with CrossFit Tyneside to provide a £250,000 investment from the Growth Fund that it manages, which is being used to fund equipment purchases, alteration work on the new premises and a new year marketing campaign.
 
CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that improves every aspect of a person’s general fitness through constantly varied functional movements that are executed at a high intensity.
Classes at Reebok CrossFit Tyneside are led by two coaches who will ensure that everyone is performing the exercises correctly to get the best workout and avoid any injuries.
Alongside the CrossFit facilities, the new gym also includes free weights and cardio equipment, a Naked Deli café, merchandising and nutrition supplements, all of which have been designed to provide an environment in which members can meet all their fitness goals and also enjoy some relaxation time.
Reebok-sponsored athlete Jordan Wallace is one of the UK’s leading CrossFit coaches and a regular competitor in the UK and European CrossFit Games, while Colin Carter has been responsible for designing and fitting out around 500 gyms in the UK and Europe during a 20-year career as a fitness equipment supplier.
Colin Carter says: “CrossFit has grown exponentially in the UK in the last seven years, but the locations in which classes are held are often quite small and basic, and having researched how the demand is growing in places like Scandinavia and the US, we know there is a great opportunity to create this type of hybrid facility that hasn’t previously been seen in the UK.
 
Our new gym is designed to be a welcoming environment for people of all fitness levels, and our industry experience means we know precisely what sort of equipment our target audience needs, the space required for the workouts they want to do and the facilities needed to support the social aspect of CrossFit which is such a key part of the overall concept.
 
“We’re excited to have officially opened our doors at a time of year when a lot of people are looking for new ways of fulfilling their New Year fitness resolutions, and it’s natural to be looking to extend the concept to elsewhere in the region as and when we find the right sites in the right locations.
 
“The NEL team understood the ideas that we were looking to bring to life, had experience of working with fitness industry businesses and saw the strength of the management team that will be taking the concept forward.”
 
David Thomas, investment manager at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “The CrossFit concept has become phenomenally successful, and the CrossFit Tyneside team presented us with an exciting plan for how they could shape the next phase of its evolution with our investment support.”
 
Aimed at regional businesses which are at a development and growth stage, the Growth Fund forms part of the wider Finance for Business North East Fund.
 
Managed by North East Finance, it will see £142m of investment capital injected into the region by the European Investment Bank and the European Regional Development Fund 2007-13 over a five year period.
 
NEL is looking to make around 130 investments over the five-year life span of the Growth Fund, and is actively looking to speak to ambitious north east companies with robust business plans.
 
For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact the investment team on 0345 369 7007.
 
The ERDF 2007-13 programme is bringing over £300m into North East England to support innovation, enterprise and business support.  It will help create and safeguard 28,000 new jobs, start 3,000 new businesses and increase the region’s productivity by £1.1bn per annum.