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Starting smart: Aerobic Table Tennis

Steve Rowe, founder of Aerobic Table Tennis tells us how is he transforming his passion for the sport into an internationally recognised business.

Steve Rowe from Wigan is preparing to take the fitness market by storm with the launch of his unique Aerobic Table Tennis fitness programme that was inspired by the global shortage of females playing table tennis.

A table tennis coach for over 15 years, Steve had become concerned at the falling levels of girls and women taking up the sport – in the UK and globally - and was thinking about new ways to drive up participation levels. Looking at what women like to do for exercise in general he found that aerobics and exercise that included music were the most popular, particularly when done in a group. Steve’s resulting business idea, that is now taking him all over the world, was a programme that combines aerobic movement with music and table tennis. His programme and company - Aerobic Table Tennis - is a high energy fitness workout experience that combines the sport of table tennis with the benefit of burning calories.

Steve operates two strands to his business – one working directly with schools and the other training instructors to run their own aerobic table tennis sessions. In the two years since developing his product Steve has worked with over 500 primary and secondary schools across the UK and Europe, helping over 5000 young people to take part in the programme. Aerobic Table Tennis supplies an equipment package for schools and clubs that includes the instructional video and all the equipment and resources needed to run the programme during school PE curriculum time. Originally aimed to encourage girls to take up the sport, the schools have reported that boys and girls alike loved the new activity. Steve already has 25 instructors on board across the UK to continue to grow this work with schools.

At the same time Steve developed a programme to train PE teachers and instructors to deliver private or group training sessions in aerobic table tennis, taking his programme to a wider consumer fitness market. Aerobic Table Tennis also has a new instructional video featuring Olympian and Romanian table tennis player lulia Necula demonstrating the programme.

Steve came to the Business Growth Hub earlier this year with his unique idea and with many of the essentials already in place to make it a success, but he was also very aware of where he needed extra help to make his business a long-term success. Steve was introduced to the Growth Start Up team who run Start Smart, an intensive programme that delivers a whole host of support to take start up entrepreneurs from an initial concept/idea to a successful business. Janine Smith and Jo Walker from the team worked closely with Steve to develop his business plan and strategy and are also now introducing him to a range of additional support services including marketing and accessing finance.

Steve says: “My passion is table tennis and my dream has been to make aerobic table tennis into something that is available to young and old, the world over. Where I needed help was to build a long-term strategy to enable me to manage the growth of the business over the years to come – to plan our expansion, investment, resources and time – and that is just what the Hub has been able to give me. They worked with me to put together a full business plan, based on a number of growth scenarios which has created a really clear growth path for the company and our partners and suppliers going forward.”

Now Steve is about to take his entire programme to a global audience. Tees Sport in Middlesborough will be keeping stock of all the equipment and managing storage and shipping both in the UK and internationally. Alan Ransome (Director of Tees Sport) has helped Steve to gain the full support of Butterfly Europe, enabling Aerobic Table Tennis to have a much better chance of being successful throughout Europe and worldwide.

Steve has also received a huge amount of endorsement from leading table tennis bodies that are fully behind his campaign to get more people participating in the sport. These include the International Table Tennis Federation, the European Table Tennis Union, the English Table Tennis Association, Table Tennis Wales, Table Tennis Scotland, the Irish Table Tennis Association, the Sweden Table Tennis Association and the English Schools Table Tennis Association.

Janine Smith says: “Steve Rowe is an incredible success story just waiting to happen! Many entrepreneurs have amazing and very workable business ideas but they just need that extra bit of help to make sure it develops and grows in the right direction and at the right pace. When Steve came to see us he had already had a lot of success in the UK and now we’re working closely with him to build on that and to make sure that everything is in place and ready to go to support his expansion across Europe and globally.

“For many entrepreneurs the hardest thing can be letting other people take a role in managing your business, but getting the right help is also one of the most important steps to creating a growth business. We’re so proud and excited to be at Steve’s side as Aerobic Table Tennis looks set for world domination!”

For more information about the Growth Start Up Programme contact the Hub on 0161 359 3050 or info@businessgrowthhub.com

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