Sunderland entrepreneur grows fitness startup with support from North East BIC


A Sunderland-based personal trainer makes it his mission to educate people about health and fitness after leaving the hustle and bustle of his corporate job.

Joe Hill qualified as a personal trainer in 2018 to learn more about the fitness industry, but it wasn’t until the pandemic hit that he considered it a possible career.

After being released from his role as a Learning and Development Manager in the finance sector in 2021, Joe decided to take the leap into self-employment and follow his dreams of helping others achieve their fitness goals.

Following startup backing from the North East BIC, 42-year-old Joe founded JH Fitness in October last year which is based out of Performance Fitness Centre, a privately owned gym in Leechmere and now has an established client base of which he is a part delivers tailor-made fitness programs according to needs.

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Joe remarked, “I worked with close to 2,000 people in my previous role, so this is definitely a big transition for me. I am now working with my clients on a one to one basis and am considering starting small group training next month.

“I have always been interested in health and fitness, which is why I originally trained as a personal trainer. However, like many people during lockdown, I began to question my work-life balance and when I was laid off it seemed like now was a better time than ever.

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“Now I work with a wide variety of clients, from a 14-year-old athlete to those in their 40s looking to improve their lifestyle.”

When Joe contacted BIC to inquire about the assistance on offer, he was able to access grant support to help with rent while expanding his client base. He added: “The BIC helped me tremendously with the setup and the support was spot on.

“It was a big change from my previous job as I don’t work as many hours and I needed to make sure it was financially viable, but BIC helped me understand how to manage the business from the start and the grants through the New Enterprise Allowance gave me a platform to grow.”

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Janice Marsh, Business Advisor at North East BIC added: “It’s great to see Joe pursuing his love of fitness and enjoying the benefits of self-employment. Joe’s experience is a perfect example of how you can start something new at any time in your life, even after years of working in a completely different career and industry.”

Joe has been supported by the Enterprise Support in the North East 2 project, funded in part by the European Regional Development Fund.


By Matthew Neville – Correspondent, Bdaily

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