On the up · 12 May 2016

Performance For All: The social enterprise making fitness accessible to everyone

Performance For All
Swimmers in the 2015 Special Olympics

Committed to self-funding and inspired by Richard Branson, Jade Mottley is on a mission to use her knowledge of the fitness industry to remove barriers to participation. We spoke to her to find out how she is growing her social enterprise.

Soon after graduating from university with a sport science degree, Mottley had founded her own inclusive fitness company – and soon gained a place on the Entrepreneurial Spark accelerator programme to help her develop her young company. Business Advice caught up with the social entrepreneur to learn about the challenges and opportunities that come with being a young company founder with a mission.

(1) Who are you and what’s your business?

I’m Jade Mottley, founder of Performance For All, a health and wellness business established to provide individuals with opportunities to improve their health and fitness.

(2) How long have you been around for? 

Performance For All was established in 2015 and we are growing rapidly. We’ve recently expanded our team to include sports coaches, disability trainers, business development interns and volunteers.

(3) How do you make money?

Through our limited company we offer monthly personal training and group fitness packages, tailored to our clients’ goals and lifestyles.

Our social enterprise is currently developing an array of training courses including “disability awareness”, “sport for all” (sports adaptation for people with a disability) and a mentoring program called “Athena”.

(4) What makes you different and why should people take notice?

We are different because in a UK industry worth over £4bn, we specialise in people, not trends. Our packages target niche demographics and assist in the removal of barriers to participation in fitness for people within our local communities.

As an example, we recently co-founded a new business venture called “Fierce Fit”, the first business of it’s kind in the heart of Manchester. It is a female-focused personal training clinic, for women and led by women.

(5) What was key in terms of getting started?

My diverse experience, skillset and passion were key. Performance For All was founded based on the experiences I had from previous employment and opportunities within the sports and fitness industry in both mainstream and disability sectors.

Working in various settings including professional football and rugby clubs, national disability charities, commercial gyms and private personal training clinics, I observed that there were often barriers to participation and challenges accessing equipment and specialist coaching.

Since graduating from university, I have made my career an area of important investment for me and continued to learn more about the sport and fitness sector by gaining additional qualifications and training.

(6) How has Entrepreneurial Spark supported you so far – and what is most useful about the initiative?

Entrepreneurial Spark has been an amazing opportunity for Performance For All and for me. Firstly, it gives us an office space to work from, which has helped me separate work from home life and work more effectively as a result.

It also reassures me to know that I have a support network which is bigger than our business. I have already been given fantastic opportunities by connecting with the Entrepreneurial Spark partner network, including mentors, investors and potential partners.

(7) What’s your biggest achievement to date?

To date it has been working with Special Olympian, Kiera Byland. I was privileged to be her personal trainer and share her training journey up to the special Olympics world games in Los Angeles in 2015 where she amazingly and successfully won three gold medals in cycling. Being a part of such an inspiring young lady’s journey was the proudest moment I have had as a coach.

Having shared experiences like presenting in local special educational needs schools, we didn’t want our journey working together to end, so our social enterprise has now gone into a joint venture with Kiera, called “The Kiera Project”. This is a pilot project currently funded by the Big Lottery Fund allowing the opportunity for our athlete ambassador to share her journey whilst raising awareness for disability sport and, in particular, Special Olympics Great Britain.

(8) What setbacks have you had along the way?

I am sure every entrepreneur will agree that a large setback is financing a startup. The hours and commitment often greatly exceed the initial contracted work and money coming in to pay the bills. As a result, my family and I have invested both financially and emotionally in Performance For All since I started it – I haven’t had any external loans or investors. I really believe in my own vision and I will always want to be the driving force behind it.

(9) In five years’ time, I will be…

Doing exactly what I am doing now, but on it a larger scale, and positively impacting more people’s lives. I will be very excited if we have our own premises to deliver our services from, and eventually would love to have a café that is run by our social enterprise providing employment opportunities for individuals with both physical and intellectual disabilities.

(10) What one tip would you give to others starting out?

Remember, you are always successful. You either get a positive outcome or you learn.

(11) Who are your business heroes and why?

 There are so many business heroes but Richard Branson stands out for me. Books I have read about him show a real vision for what he wants to achieve and how he takes every opportunity and learns along the way.

On a personal level, my heroes are business mothers like my own mum and grandma. I have grown up in a family of strong women who have successfully run both business and home, which has been really inspiring – I am inspired daily by them and hope to achieve the same.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics – as well as running a tutoring company.

Business development