England International Rugby Player Looks to Expand Berkshire Business with Help from Funding Escalator

A Berkshire business, owned by England and Wasps rugby player, James Haskell is the latest to receive funding from the Thames Valley Berkshire (TVB) Funding Escalator.

James set up Bodyfire Ltd, a fitness, health and nutrition business based in Binfield at the beginning of 2013 as a way to share training and nutrition tips central to his core beliefs around achieving a healthy lifestyle. However in March 2013 the business took on a new focus as James found himself struggling to meet his own sports nutrition needs.

James said: “I was looking for supplements that would help to maximise my training sessions but, being a professional athlete, I obviously need to make sure anything I take is free of substances that are restricted by sports drug testing programmes. I was pretty shocked to find a severe lack of anything suitable that wasn’t loaded with chemicals.”

He set about creating his own range of products specifically designed to be used as pre-training products, both by fellow professionals and enthusiastic amateurs. The result is a natural, organic capsule supplement (Hades for men; Hella for women), that can be used before working out to boost energy levels and fully capitalise on the session, and also to help speed up the fat burning process. Significantly, Bodyfire supplements are certified by Informed Sport – a quality assurance programme verifying that a product is completely natural. Free from any harmful chemical additive and has been tested for banned substances.

As the sports and fitness market continues to grow – now estimated at over £350million in the UK – Bodyfire is experiencing an ever-increasing demand for its supplements, which are offered alongside James’s online fitness and training packages. To help meet this demand, the business has secured a £200,000 expansion loan from the Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator.

Jonathan Haskell, who runs the operations of the business said: “Because the company has grown out of James creating these supplements for his own use, we’ve been operating on a relatively small scale but as awareness and interest gains momentum, we need to step things up a gear. This funding will enable us to increase our marketing, take on additional staff and continue to develop the product range.”

Ian Baker, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group, which manages the Funding Escalator on behalf of Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said: “Bodyfire have succeeded in developing a unique product in a sector almost exclusively filled with products containing chemicals and artificial additives, opening them up to a far wider, health conscious market, as well as establishing a greater cross-gender appeal. This, matched with their bespoke and copyrighted recipes, positions them excellently for rapid growth, which we are delighted to support.”

The TVB Funding Escalator is a £7.3m initiative funded by Thames Valley Berkshire LEP to support job creation and economic prosperity in Berkshire. The escalator includes an expansion loan scheme, a commercialisation loan scheme and a growth fund and provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £25,000 and £250,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities.

For more information about the Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator, please visit www.thefsegroup.com/thames-valley-berkshire-funding-escalator or contact Ian Baker ian.baker@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 608517.