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Pioneer of the Week: Gavin Bell of Alba Fitness

New and Networking

Pioneer of the Week: Gavin Bell of Alba Fitness

Our Pioneer of the Week is Gavin Bell of Alba Fitness, an amazing company that helps organisations create long lasting health and wellbeing initiatives for their employees.

Tell us 3 important things we should know about you.

  • I am originally from the Shetland Islands but I moved to Manchester in 2012 to study at the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy, aged 18.

  • I graduated from the Academy in 2013, winning Manchester Entrepreneur and being shortlisted for National Most Inspirational student of the year

  • I moved to Edinburgh in 2014 to launch my own corporate wellbeing company, Alba Fitness.

 Tell us about your business. How did it start? Did you set it up alone or with a team?

Alba Fitness carries out wellbeing assessments on behalf of organisations.  The assessments help to identify wellbeing issues specific to that organisation and offer solutions, which may include things such as stress management workshops, nutritional workshops and much more.

This allows employees to live healthier, happier lives and it allows the business to thrive and become more productive. I set the business up myself and came up with the idea at the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy.

What do you love most about running your own business?

The freedom. (is that a bit stereotypical, coming from a Scotsman?) I love being able to work where I want, when I want. So I can go to a coffee shop during the week and get some work done. You don’t get that freedom working for someone else. Also, I’ve always been an ambitious person, so knowing that my work input directly influences how well the business does is extremely motivating and rewarding.

Tell us about a challenging experience you’ve faced in the process of starting up your business and how you overcame it.

The biggest challenge I’ve faced is trying to educate the market. Corporate wellbeing is still a relatively young market so I’ve had to try and educate people on the importance of looking after their staff. Businesses are starting to become more aware though, which is great to see.


What advice could you give to other startups (not necessarily competitors) about starting up in your industry?

A lot of people in the health and fitness industry are driven solely by money, rather than actually caring about the health of their clients. I would say, if all you care about is money, this isn’t the industry for you. The health and wellbeing of the people we work with comes first.

 Can you share an experience that really helped you take your business forward? (Could be a conversation, getting funding or training)

I was fortunate enough to come in the top 3 of a national business competition, called the EDGE challenge. I had to pitch my business down in London, before pitching to around 100 people at the Skills Show in Birmingham. I won a grant for being in the top three, which has really helped with the buying of promotional goods.

Many people start their businesses at home, where do you work? What do you love about it? (Please include an image, see below)

I work from home. However, I’m not too keen on it, as it can get quite lonely. Although I do have my pet Cockatiel to keep me company. So I always make sure I get out as much as possible. I am aiming to get myself into a coworking space in the City Centre within the next couple of months though which will be great.

What are three things you know now, that you wish someone had told you when you first started?

I have learnt so much over the last few years; it’s hard to narrow it down to three!

  1. People are willing to help you – you just need to ask. When I first started, I didn’t like asking people for help, probably because I wasn’t confident enough. However, now, I ask people for help every day and you very rarely get somebody saying no.

  2. Take action. You can spend hours and hours planning but the only thing that’s going to get you where you want to be is by taking action. Get started even if you’re not ready.

  3. Don’t be afraid. If you’re nervous about picking the phone up, or speaking to a certain individual, just think to yourself, ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’. Nothing is ever bad as you think it will be.

Is there anything specific you’d like to ask or share with the Virgin Media Pioneers community?

If anyone has any questions relating to health, fitness or starting a business, please get in touch as I’d love to help. I’m willing to answer any questions you may have. And I think it’s important for entrepreneurs to remember about their health. It’s easy to forget about your own health when you’re committed to setting up a business, but it’s vital that you do.

Finish the sentence: To be an entrepreneur…

" to never, ever give up on what you believe in."

To find out more about Alba Fitness check out their website or connect on Twitter and Facebook.