A PE teacher in Dewsbury has won backing for his business idea to promote sport and active lifestyles.
Matt Hodkinson, who teaches at Earlsheaton Technology College, has won the backing of Cleckheaton-based accountancy firm Clough & Company after winning a competition offering a would-be entrepreneur the chance to start their own business with a year’s worth of free business advice.
Matt was part of the government’s School Sport Partnership programme, which offered further training to teachers and forged links with local sport clubs and teams in order to increase participation and fitness levels for children aged five to 18.
Said Matt: “I am responsible for a family of schools in the St John Fisher Partnership, which includes seven high schools and 42 primary schools in the Dewsbury and Batley areas.
“Unfortunately, following the recent government spending review, funding for the partnerships has been cut, but I want to continue the work of the partnership as a new enterprise – SportUnity.”
Matt said SportUnity would provide all children, regardless of social background, with access to sports and physical activity.
“I hope the company will be funded in part by the schools that benefit from the service and local health organisations,” he said. Money is often a stumbling block when it comes to sporting activities, particularly among children from lower income families, but I am confident that SportUnity will be able to bridge the gap.”
Shafiq Khan, who leads Clough & Co’s 121 Business Centre, said: “We ran the competition to encourage local entrepreneurs to buck the trend of the recession.
“SportUnity has the potential to grow into a thriving business, with an ethical focus that gives something back to the communities that invest in it.
“Clough & Company is proud to be a part of SportUnity's development.”
Steven Gash, practice chairman of Clough & Co, added: “We ran the competition as we wanted to encourage local entrepreneurs to take the plunge and start their own business.
“The prize of a year’s worth of partner-lead financial and business advice meant that we had a phenomenal response, but Matt Hodkinson's idea to provide enhanced sports initiatives to schools ticked all the boxes.”